Spotify halves monthly free listening time

European music streaming service Spotify upset users and fans today with an announcement that the number of hours of listening for free users would be halved from 20 to 10.

One of the first comments on Spotify’s post announcing the changes kind of sums up reaction to the obviously unpopular announcement:

Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. That’s me over to Grooveshark/YouTube/piracy. Which is a shame, because Spotify had by far the best features and interface. I’ll miss the sharing and the ease of making playlists, I had things nicely organised. Thanks for destroying a community of music lovers. Goodbye.

No specific reason was offered by Spotify for the unpopular decision- it could be to drive more users to the paid service, or maybe due to music label pressure. Spotify bullet-pointed the changes that would affect users:

  • New Spotify users will be able to enjoy our unrivalled free service as it is today for the first 6 months.
  • As of May 1st, any user who signed up to the free service on or before November 1st 2010 will be able to play each track for free up to a total of 5 times. Users who signed up after the beginning of November will see these changes applied 6 months after the time they set up their Spotify account.
  • Additionally, total listening time for free users will be limited to 10 hours per month after the first 6 months. That’s equivalent to around 200 tracks or 20 albums.

If you’re a Spotify Free or Open user, do you plan to continue using the service with all the restrictions? Is it worth the hassle of porting all your music preferences over manually for ten measly hours of listening a month?