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Spotify Takes Axe To Free Music Service – Can It Still Claim To Slash Music Piracy?

April 14th, 2011 04:00 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

It turns out there really is no such things as a free lunch. Spotify is slashing in half the amount of free listening available to existing users from 20 to 10 hours from 1 May. New users will be moved over to this new restricted model in the next six months.

So the new deal is:

• New Spotify users will be able to use the free service “as it is today” for the first 6 months.
• From May 1st, any user who signed up to the free service on or before November 1st 2010 will be able to play each track for free up to a total of 5 times. • Users who signed up after the beginning of November will see these changes applied 6 months after the time they set up their Spotify account.
• Total listening time for free users will be limited to 10 hours per month after the first 6 months – roughly equivalent to around 200 tracks or 20 albums.

It’s taken since 2008 to gather just over 1 million people to become paying customers. Presumably many of its five million free-riders will now be forced to actively consider paying for service when these very obvious restrictions come through.

Daniel Ek, Spotify’s co-founder, blogs today that “People are listening to more music and from a wider range of artists than ever before, and are giving up on piracy, which is exactly what we hoped would happen.”

However, this feels like a bad move. In one feel swoop Spotify is reducing its ability to say, with much credibility, that it is out to reduce the amount of piracy. If you can only listen to 10 hrs, and then only five times to one track, how can Spotify claim that it can significantly eat into the massive amount of file-sharing out there?

On the other hand maybe this is what the service needed to shift more people over to paying?

The alternative scenario is that Spotify really can convert many to paying subscribers, boosting its coffers and perhaps convincing the record companies that it is clear to land in the US.

And there remains the question of whether this move is down to pressure form the labels – or a product driven move.

However the signs that this could back-fire are already on Ek’s blog post.

Source: Spotify Takes Axe To Free Music Service – Can It Still Claim To Slash Music Piracy?

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