Los Angeles – Spotify, the European streaming music service
plotting a U.S. launch, on Thursday announced new limits on its ad-supported,
free music streaming offering. Users of the free service, who number around 10
million in the countries in Europe where Spotify is currently available, will
now be limited to 10 hours per month, while each track will be available for
free for up to five total plays.

"The changes we’re having to make will
mainly affect heavier Spotify Free and Open users, as most of you use Spotify
to discover music — on average over 50 new tracks per month, even after a year.
Plus, the average user won’t reach the limit on plays for 7 out of 10 tracks,
after a year of using Spotify," the company wrote in a blog post.

Spotify suggested that users who reach its new limits join the 1 million users currently
subscribed to its Unlimited or Premium offerings, which cost about $8 per month
for PC-based access and $15 for mobile access.

"Above all, this means we
can continue making Spotify available to all in the long-term," the
company concluded.

"Spotify has captured a youth demographic that’s been
very hard for the music industry to monetize, but their perception of the value
of music completely changes as they get invested in the experience," Spotify
chief content officer Ken Parks told The New York Times.

"So the ‘free’
experience in fact pays big dividends. That’s why it is so vital we continue to
make the free service available."

Spotify’s plans to launch in the U.S.
have been stymied by thorny licensing negotiations with record labels.

So far,
it has signed Sony and EMI but not Warner Music or Universal Music to deals for
U.S. distribution.



Related Links:

(Spotify blog)
(N.Y. Times)