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Spotify cutting free listening hours by half

Spotify has announced it will be cutting the number of hours of free streaming to its users per week by half.

If you were an early adopter of Spotify, you’d be classed as a Spotify Free user and have unlimited music streaming from Spotify’s ever growing music library, with the odd advert break here and there. Spotify noticed how popular their service was becoming, so closed signups to the Free service  and announced Spotify Open – a similar service, but with a limit of 20 hours streaming per week.

As a Spotify Free user myself and a very early adopter, I was content with my unlimited streaming and didn’t mind the odd advert or too. Friends who were late to the Spotify party and were only granted Open accounts were on the receiving end of my jibes – “oh what’s that? That’s right, you ran out of streaming hours!”

But today Spotify dealt a crushing blow to mine and many others pride. All Spotify Free or Open users who registered before November 2010 will be limited to 10 hours music streaming per month. What’s more, you will only be able to play each particular track a maximum of five times. Ever. Once you’ve played a particular track 5 times, you can discount it from your Spotify library as you won’t be able to play it again unless you subscribe to Spotify Premium.

The news has angered many Spotify free users who have been faithful to the service for a long time now, but Spotify’s chief content officer Ken Parks says the move is vital if they wish to keep the free service running at all.

He says “Our chief priority is to keep the free service, which is what has made Spotify so popular and successful. We’re a company whose ambition is to offer all the world’s music to everyone, which means growing the business and our user base to many times its current size. Everything we do is designed to ensure our users continue to have access to an amazing free experience,”

The move points directly at Spotify urging its customer base to opt for their paid service in order to get ad-free, unlimited music streaming. In an attempt to ease the blow and to also push users towards subscribing, Spotify are offering one month’s free Premium subscription through May.

Changes will begin to take place as of 1st May, Spotify Open subscribers who signed up after November 2010 will see changes take place six months after their signup date.

Will you be tempted to subscribe to Spotify Premium, or will this new policy cause you to start looking elsewhere for your music streaming needs? Let us know via Twitter, @Gadget_Helpline.

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