Spotify Ready to Turn Off Free Unlimited Music
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
January 12 2012 02:08 PM ET
The six-month period to listen to unlimited music on Spotify is coming to an end for those who signed up for the music service back in July. The limit was specified in the terms of service, but how many people ever read it? The new monthly cap may come as a shock to Spotify listeners.
At the end of the unlimited period, users can stick with the free service, but will be able to listen to only a single track five times a month and use Spotify for a total of 10 hours a month — around 20 minutes a day.
Spotify is betting that won’t be enough for its more than 3 million free-service customers in the U.S. Spotify devised its strategy to get listeners hooked, and then make it too difficult for them to abandon the service once they’d invested their time in making playlists.
“You get them to build playlists and libraries. When people invest 500 hours into their music, building their collections and making playlists, they look at music in a different way,” Kenneth Parks, Spotify's chief content officer, told the Los Angeles Times in an interview in November. “After spending several months, you ask them to pay the price of a couple of sandwiches a month, the answer is likely to be yes. It's a no-brainer.”
However, Spotify could change its position. This week Spotify released a statement saying more information on the impending changes is on its way without specifying the caps contained in their terms of service:
"As we have previously stated, after a Spotify user has enjoyed free unlimited listening for six months, some changes to the free service will come into effect. We will have more information on these changes in due course."
Spotify offers two paid subscription options. A monthly fee of $4.99 will net users unlimited listening without ads, while $9.99 will provide unlimited listening on a mobile device on top of ad-free listening on a computer.
While other free streaming music services are available such as Grooveshark and Pandora, Spotify is the only service with automatic, or so-called frictionless, Facebook sharing . When Facebook users listen to a Spotify track, a notice is posted to the Facebook ticker with a link that allows friends to immediately listen to the same song without leaving Facebook.
Since Spotify’s launch on Facebook in September, more than 1.6 million users have “liked” the service and tickers have been flooded with who’s listening to what song. So far, users seem unaware of the changes in store. Accounts will fall under the caps beginning next week if Spotify adheres to its terms.