Update 3/31/12: Spotify has announced that the free 6 month trial period has been extended indefinitely.
Of course, this is only for the desktop version. The Spotify mobile service is still only free for 48 hours of listening.
A couple of things may have led to this extension:
- Spotify may be doing better than expected with ad sales and may continue the freemium ad-supported model like Pandora; and/or
- They may be looking for additional funding and trying to keep their user totals as high as possible. Obviously, some users would fall off if their free service ran out and they were forced to pay.
Original Post, 1/7/12: The music-streaming service Spotify debuted in the U.S. last July and quickly became a darling of many.
A few of the big draws to Spotify were a) that it was highly connected to Facebook, being one of their very first Open Graph partners; b) you were make music selections by artist, by album or by track; and c) it was free.
The free part is about to change. As tech blog DigitalTrends reported last night, Spotify's free 6-month trial is about to expire for the earliest of adopters.
Once the 6 month freebee is over, Spotify users are only entitled to 10 hours a month of free listening and can only play the same song 5 times during that month. In order to listen more, you need upgrade to either the unlimited plan ($4.99/mo) or the premium plan ($9.99/mo).
It is also worth noting that I discovered last night that the Spotify mobile app only allows for 48 free hours of streaming before you have to upgrade.
At last count, Spotify had picked up over 7 million users in its short lifetime. With so many music streaming options, it will be interesting to see if users abandon Spotify once their free rein is over.
Pandora seems like it is in position to benefit from this. As long as a user is ok with settling their music selection on a mix of their artist(s) of choice and like artists, they can listen on the web or mobile endlessly for free (with a few ads thrown in).
What do you think? Will Spotify users dish out the cash to keep using the service? Will Spotify be forced to change their pricing structure and embrace more advertising?
The next few months will be interesting in the music streaming world...