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Spotify cuts listening time in half for free users

Bad news for non-subscribers of the popular music streaming service.

The free version of popular music streaming service Spotify will undergo some major changes next month, reducing the amount of listening time available for its non-paying users. Currently, free users can listen to twenty hours of music every month, with no limit on the number of times each track can be played. From the 1st of May onwards, this will be reduced to ten hours and individual tracks will only be playable five times.

Members that joined the service before the 1st of November last year will move over to the new terms from the beginning of May. Users that joined between the 1st of November and the 1st of May will keep the old twenty hour limit for six months, before swapping over to the new system. Both the Free and Open versions of Spotify will be affected by the changes, which are supported by the revenue from adverts. The paid-for Premium and Unlimited subscriptions will remain unchanged.

Spotify interface

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek reported the proposed changes this morning on the official Spotify blog. He indicated that anyone “using Spotify to find new tracks to enjoy and share with friends” shouldn’t notice the new changes, as “the average user won’t reach the [five replay] limit on plays for 7 out of 10 tracks, after a year of using Spotify.”

He also encouraged any users that hit the limit to consider upgrading to a paid-for subscription. Spotify members that stream music through their home cinema system will be happy to hear that a 30-day trial of the Premium service will be available throughout May in the hope it encourages more users to make the switch.

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