(Hypebot) — Bridging the gap between their free and paid subscriptions, Spotify is test driving a new ninety-nine cent, ‘Spotify Plus’ tier, which still includes some advertising, but gives listeners a bit more freedom in terms of skip limits and song choice.
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
Spotify Plus is currently available to a limited number of users, but that may change in the near future.
Spotify is currently testing a new premium membership tier that will cost subscribers $0.99 per month. The ad-supported membership option is currently available to a small number of users, but the streaming giant may expand their testing field in the near future.
According to multiple reports, the ‘Spotify Plus’ plan still features ads like Spotify’s free tier, but it doesn’t impose any limits on the number of tracks you can skip per hour. Users are also free to pick which specific songs they want to listen to, rather than mostly being limited to shuffling within albums and playlists.
While the $0.99 price tag sounds enticing, it may not be the final cost. Spotify’s approach to testing involves offering the new plan randomly at a variety of price points to gauge user interest. The most popular price is not necessarily the one a company will use. Instead, Spotify is seeking a sweet spot between “this is too much” and “this is a steal” where consumers can be convinced to part with a few extra dollars a month in the name of control.
Spotify’s free tier has existed in its current form since 2018. It doesn’t let users skip more than six tracks per hour, and only lets them pick and listen to specific tracks from 15 select playlists, ranging from editorial-selected playlists to algorithmically generated collections like “Discover Weekly” and “Daily Mix.” Any listening that takes place outside those two playlists must use the shuffle functionality. Spotify Plus would reduce those restrictions without giving users complete freedom (like the current $9.99 tier).
“We’re always working to enhance the Spotify experience and we routinely conduct tests to inform our decisions,” a spokesperson said. “We’re currently conducting a test of an ad-supported subscription plan with a limited number of our users.”
However, Spotify cautioned that there’s no guarantee that the new tier will launch in its current form. “Some tests end up paving the way for new offerings or enhancements while others may only provide learnings. We don’t have any additional information to share at this time.”
Spotify has a long history of publicly testing major developments long before they reach the public. For example, the company’s long-discussed ‘car thing‘ has been in various stages of development for years. A hifi streaming option that could rival the lossless audio offered by Apple Music and Amazon Music was available to a small batch of users for testing earlier this year. To date, Spotify has not provided any timeline for the release of that streaming tier.
As much as we like to see Spotify continue evolving, the elephant in the room remains: How will this latest development, which has the potential to generate millions in revenue, benefit musicians?
James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.