The big news this morning is that Spotify is to halve its free music limit – and, more importantly for me at least, impose a limit on its Spotify Free service as well as the Open service. For those that don’t know the difference, Open was launched last year to allow new users to sign up. Before this, they couldn’t accept new registrations, and only let you use the service if you had an invitation. Open limited users to 20 hours of music per month – a perfectly acceptable limit, I’m sure.
I first signed up to Spotify probably about two years ago now, qualifying for the Free service before registration was cut off. Up until today, I haven’t been affected by any of the changes, a nice gesture from the company that they don’t want to take away what its existing users enjoy. Well, not anymore. Imposing this limit on all free users is a pretty radical measure, and there’s word that they’re doing it to appease the record labels. Part of me is suspicious that it has something to do with a launch in the United States – something which I obviously have no consideration for!
The limit I can just about deal with. I use Spotify to listen to full albums, but generally use The Hype Machine to discover new music. It would be hard to measure how much I actually use the free streaming service – I genuinely have no clue, and sometimes just use it out of habit even if I already have a song in iTunes. The real killer, for me, is the new cap they have put on individual songs. You can now only listen to a song five times ever. Ever. Once you’ve passed that limit, it will be greyed out and you won’t be able to listen to it again unless you stump up for a subscription. Fair enough, at £4.99 a month for unlimited music it’s not a massive amount, and is less than £60 a year. But that’s not the point. I don’t see how the 5-listen limit will actually benefit anybody. I could have begrudgingly accepted the 10-hour limit – I had a feeling that my unlimited listening was too good to last – but the limit on listening to the same song just seems frivolous.
People will argue that you can’t expect music for free, but it’s worked supported by ads for the last few years and I don’t see why it has to change now. I think it has probably got too many users – something that is always going to happen – and I long for the days when Spotify was a little-known pleasure. With a US launch imminent, I’m sure further restrictions will come into play, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Free service will eventually disappear. Once I’m earning, I’m sure paying a subscription would be something I’d genuinely consider. The mobile services look worth the money, even though they aren’t available on my phone. But right now, with tuition fees, house rent and bills coming out of my bank account with no income coming in – apart from my loan – it’s not something I can really consider.
You can tell it’s something I feel strongly about – I even wrote my first blog post for Thinktank for months. Bloody hell.Noteworthy 14 April 2011
Tagged as music, news, noteworthy, technical
- ...Ashley Livingston on 1 May 2011 (0445)
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Hello my name is Andy.I am a twenty-one year old student from Liverpool, UK.
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