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Spotify Service Changes Serve No Good Purpose

Spotify announced some changes to its free service last week. A reduction in the number of hours free streaming from 20 hours a month to 10. Not a massive change in itself and hardly unreasonable for a business based on the freemium model.

Part of the reason that this change has happened however, is because of the streaming costs which the music publishers demand for their product: about a penny a song. Doesn't sound much but it means that at 10 hours a month Spotify has to bring in £1.50 per free user per month - that's a big ask in the current challenging economic climate.

The change is unlikely to bring Spotify much relief, with the most likely response to the reduction to be a move back to piracy for many users, not a mass take-up of premium subscriptions. Net result, less income (and potentially failure) for Spotify, less revenue for publishers and artists and more illegal downloading of music.

The music industry needs to understand that services like Spotify and Last.fm are the best routes for revenue from music production and support them as far as practical.

It remains a tough battle for the music listener's hard-earned cash. Far too many people now put zero value on the music they acquire and cutting them off from legitimate services which promise to deliver some income (eventually) is not really the cleverest thing.

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