Spotify Under Pressure to Limit Free Access

Popular music streaming service, Spotify, has built a reputation on the gargantuan library of music it provides users with in exchange only for their willingness to listen to the odd advertisement. Spotify also offers a premium service that eliminates advertisements and allows paid subscribers to download music to listen to offline. According to Digital Music News’s sources, however, the paradigm may shift in the impending future. Free access would be limited to a three-month trial under the new program, after which the premium service would become the only service.

It seems that the new structure, which would understandably upset a great many users, was not Spotify’s idea. Instead, the impetus comes from the major record labels with which Spotify holds contracts. Despite Spotify’s current “15 million paying subscribers,” Sony and Universal are evidently not satisfied with the program. Spotify rebuffed similar pressure last year, leading to singer, Taylor Swift, pulling her entire music library from Spotify over their free service.  However, the weight thrown around by the likes of Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment—that represent 906 and 286 artists respectively—drastically alters the scale of the situation. The loss of over a thousand artists could be a potentially fatal blow to Spotify.

All is not lost just yet. As stated by Digital Music News’s sources, Warner Music Group has proven more ambivalent to the scheme that Universal and Sony are pushing. In a conference call—also reported by Digital Music News—Warner Music CEO, Stephen Cooper, expressed concern over the premium format driving users to piracy. As for whether the combined reticence of Spotify and Warner will be enough to put the brakes on the drive for premium, only time will tell.