Spotify reportedly planning to cut down free music streaming

UPDATE: Per Spotify's TOS, when Spotify launched in the U.S., unlimited free listening would only be available for six months as a special introductory offer to the service. Thus, being it is now January -- six months after Spotify launched -- the unlimited gig is up.

Say it ain't so, Spotify.

The digital music streaming service is reportedly planning to limit just how much music one can stream for free, according to The Business Insider.

Right now, although there are subscription rates starting at $4.99 for ad-free playback, Spotify members still have the option to stream as much music for free as they want from their computers (with advertisements, of course).

However, the reported new plan is that Spotify, which touts its free plan as "the best music player in the world," will be cutting this down from unlimited playback to only 10 hours of free playback per month. Even worse, users will also only allowed to play individual tracks five times per month.

It's not clear as to why the U.K.-based company, which finally kicked off an anticipated launch in the United States last July, made these changes.

However, maybe Spotify thinks it can crank out more cash from listeners. As of late November, Spotify already had more than 2.5 million U.S. paying members. Thus, why let the free ride continue? (Yet, it's rumored overall valuation is $1.1 billion, so it's hard to believe that it's suffering already.)

Nevertheless, for casual listeners who just want to listen to music in the background while at work or home, there's always the chance that they'll jump from Spotify (either before or after those 10 hours per month are up) and opt for other ad-supported but free services like Pandora and Grooveshark.

UPDATE: Per Spotify's TOS, when Spotify launched in the U.S., unlimited free listening would only be available for six months as a special introductory offer to the service. Thus, being it is now January -- six months after Spotify launched -- the unlimited gig is up.

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