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Spotify removes monthly time restrictions for desktop player

by Mark Tyson on 16 January 2014, 17:00

Tags: Spotify, Beats Electronics, YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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Spotify has announced that it has lifted the monthly limits on streaming free ad-supported music on its desktop player. The news comes a week before the launch of big new rival, 'Beats Music' by Dr Dre.

A 10 hours per month time restriction was previously imposed by Spotify on new users who passed a 6 month grace period in a bid to encourage users to take up its Premium Service, which would allow them to enjoy ad-free listening without time limits.

Last month the service was also made available to iOS and Android users free of charge, previously only Premium users could use these apps. Although free subscription users will not be able to select exact songs to listen to as it is default that users can only shuffle through playlists on the mobile app. Spotify reported a fourfold increase in the number of app downloads after that announcement. Also a five-play limit, where users could only listen to the same song five times on Spotify Free was also removed in the UK back in March 2013.

A company rep said in a blog post: "We have removed these caps completely across all platforms – you can listen to your favourite songs as many times as you like, for as long as you want."

We anticipate Premium users hitting back at the £10 monthly subscription with questions about the advantages they are paying for. However premium users still avoid any of the ads on the service.

What are the reasons for the change in Spotify’s strategy?

One of the reasons could involve the firm’s recent $250M funding, which upped its valuation to more than $4 billion. This could also be a strategic move against competitors such as Google’s All Access service, Apple’s iTunes Radio and Beats, a new addition which is due to launch on 21st January.

Unlike Spotify, there will be no free version of Beats Music. The company has also partnered with AT&T to offer a 'multiline' account, giving users a 90 day trial period plus access to Beats Music for up to five family members and 10 devices, all for $14.99pm. This could be the main factor to separate Bests Music's service with Spotify's, as Spotify subscribers can currently only stream music on one device at a time.

Beats has hired Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor as chief creative officer and digital music industry veteran Ian Rogers as chief executive. This relates to what Beats consider as its key selling point - curation, with promises made to outdo rival companies on the quality of its music recommendations.

"Beats Music combines the emotion only a human created playlist can give you with the best personalisation technology can deliver," said Rogers in a statement. "With this you get not just the music experience only a talented DJ or music expert can deliver, but also the right one for you right now."

Other music streaming services to look out for could be YouTube, which is planning on launching its own music subscription service in Q1 2014 and French streaming service Deezer's US launch.

Let us know what your favourite streaming services are - including preferences over paid or free services in the comments below.

HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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Each to his own.

Personally, I ‘m not interested in ad-supported music, period, even if free. Also, I’m categorically not paying £10/month for “Premium” services, just to dump add.

I'm old school, and it helps that my interest in the current music scene is, erm, minimal.

So, if I want music, I'll either nearly always jyst resort to either a BBC radio station, or far more likely, a fairly substantial CD ( and, yes, LP) collection.

Spotify? Nah. Thanks, but no thanks.
The £5/month option isn't bad to avoid the ads.

There is just-about enough good new music to make it worth the £10/month for the premium service to me. Compared to the old days when i bought a couple of CDs every month and only enjoyed about one in five, it isn't a bad trade-off. Although mostly i get it as Xmas prezzie or buy reduced gift vouchers off fleabay…. I won't give companies like that my credit card details so at least gift vouchers keep them at arms length.

It feels expensive when you see what Netflix et al offer for less though.
Are Spotify going to make up their minds with what theyre actually implementing? :P
Granted this is a step in the right direction. I left for the first time when they started imposing 5 play limits on songs, then they added the limited amount of hours per week.
Since then, theyve gotten rid of the 5 play limit, and now theyre ditching the weekly limit!
I mean im not complaining because Ive only just come back to it recently, but ill be cross if they change it again :')

As for the Beats Music, it hasnt been that high profile of a launch. Ive literally only just heard of it, haha.
And Im not sure itll do well against the existing competition tbh.
Neither of the services I use even gets a mention in the article. Is it because they are the Windows defaults?

On Windows Phone, Nokia Mix Radio has no listening limit, no ads and lets me download mixes to use offline. As a result I stream very little on my PC and don't hit the free limit on Xbox Music, where I can use a single interface to stream music and listen to my own collection.
Hmm, this sort of makes my subscription seem a little less good, value wise. I use it loads of my squeezebox touch, though, and the only alternative is deezer, which is fine but don't like having to use a browser and lose out on shared playlists.
I have found my cd buying is drying up but not completely stopped, but whereas before I would buy something primarily so that I could listen to it I now buy it for permanent ownership or in the case of some discs to get a particular (usually original) master.