File this under interesting, but unconfirmed, reports.
Earlier this month, reports said that Apple was doing its damnedest to kill Spotify's free tier. Apple, of course, is planning on relaunching is Beats Music-based streaming competitor this summer (likely at its Worldwide Developers Conference). The reports suggested that Apple has been attempting to convince the major record labels to stop licensing their music to the likes of Spotify and its free tier – in the hopes that such a decision would devastate Spotify’s business model.
The goal being less competition for Apple's music service, naturally.
Now, Digital Music News is quoting "multiple sources" who say that Spotify may be bowing to pressure from the big labels and planning on limiting its free tier to a three-month trial.
Apparently, new Spotify users would be limited to three months of free, ad-supported listening. Existing free tier users would have a six-month grace period before being forced to upgrade to a paid tier.
“It’s weaning them off free, is one way to think about it, while making [Spotify] more in line with [other streaming services],” one source told Digital Music News.
The seriously curtailed window is being presented as a ‘proposal,’ but one source pointed to limits on the “spirit of collaboration” being floated. “This was drafted as a sort of compromise idea in mind,” one source described to Digital Music News, while also noting that “close observation” will determine if users are pushed towards premium plans more aggressively.
Spotify has over 60 million users worldwide. Only a fourth of them pay for the service. It's hard to imagine Spotify forcing everyone to pay at some point, as that could kill subscriber counts. But Spotify's whole schtick is that it gets people in the door with its free tier, and hopefully they become paid subscribers.
Once again, this is a one-source report, so take it with a grain of salt. But it's an interesting thought – is your Spotify free ride coming to an end?
Image via Björn Olsson, Flickr