Updated 16/08: We've since heard reports that some Spotify Plus test users are being charged $1.99 for the service, rather than $0.99, so it seems the company is trialling various price points during the preliminary stages of its new subscription tier.
Spotify is currently testing a cheaper, ad-supported subscription tier with a limited number of users.
Called Spotify Plus, the plan costs just $0.99 a month in the US and combines features of the music streamer’s existing free and Premium tiers.
As first reported by The Verge, Spotify Plus gives subscribers the freedom to play whichever tracks they wish, as many times as they wish, at the expense of intermittent ads.
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For comparison, Spotify’s current free tier imposes limits on the number of songs users are able to skip per hour, and mostly restricts listeners to shuffling tracks within specially-created albums and playlists.
Spotify’s Premium plan, on the other hand – priced at $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$11.95 per month – gives users unlimited access to the streamer’s library of over 70 million tracks, ad-free.
A potential cost of just $0.99 a month, then, means Spotify Plus comes in at a fraction of the price of the more expensive tier, though it’s worth noting that the plan is only a pilot scheme at this stage.
There’s no word yet on how much the tier might cost for subscribers around the world, either – it seems to be being offered to users at random – and depending on interest, that price is subject to change.
Analysis: Useful... but don't hold your breath
Spotify Plus seems, on the face of it, a good idea.
Though it probably won’t sway those already on the Premium plan, it may entice free-tier subscribers by being a relatively cheap way of dramatically improving their listening experience.
However, not only might its price increase – and therefore the merit of the whole enterprise – but Spotify Plus may not come to fruition at all. “Some tests end up paving the way for new offerings or enhancements while others may only provide learnings,” the streamer told The Verge.
It’s possible, then, that Spotify’s latest scheme “may only provide learnings” on how to improve the offerings within its current subscription tiers.
What’s more, even if Spotify Plus is well-received and given the green light to roll out worldwide, there’s no guarantee it will arrive any time soon.
Take Spotify Hi-Fi, for instance. The streamer announced its high-quality, lossless streaming option back in February, which only recently became available to users in select regions. Its worldwide launch still hasn’t happened yet, either.
So, if Spotify Plus seems like a plan you’re interested in, don’t hold your breath for its imminent arrival.
Still, the cheaper tier is a neat idea, and it’s nice to see the company taking steps to widen access to its musical offering – in principle, at least.
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