Spotify Community Blog

The Spotify Community

Spotify Free Changes: 5 Play Limit

by Community Manager on ‎2012-03-29 12:05 PM - last edited on ‎2015-09-23 06:59 AM by Community Manager (87,037 Views)

We’ve got some news for all you Spotify Free users. From today, for those of you who’ve been free users for more than 6 months, you can play your favorite songs as many times as you like, for up to ten hours a month.


No more 5 play-per-song limit for all markets except France. Just unparalleled access to every one of Spotify’s 16 million songs at any time, and all for free.


Of course, for new users who’ve been using Spotify for less than 6 months, this change won’t affect you. You can already listen to whatever music you want, for as long as you like.


For our more seasoned users, you’ll still get 10 hours of free music every single month. Any tracks that you’d lost access to will once again be available for your listening pleasure.


If you're in France, we understand this may feel a bit unfair. Our agreements with the labels differ from market to market. We’re working hard to bring these improvements to the entire service, so watch this space.


We’re proud to have made the best music service on the planet even better. As always, thanks for listening.

 

[Update - 19.3.2013]

 

We’ve got some mighty fine news for all Spotify Free users in the U.K. From today, there’s no more 5 play-per-song limit. You can listen to your favourite songs as many times as you like.

 

That’s right, no more greyed-out songs. The tracks that you couldn’t listen to before will once again be available for your listening pleasure.

 

Of course, if you’ve been using Spotify for less than 6 months, this change won’t affect you. You can already listen to whatever you want, as often as you like.

 

[Update - 4.6.2013] 

 

We’ve got some mighty fine news for all Spotify Free users. From today, there’s no more 5 play-per-song limit even for folks using Spotify in France. You can listen to your favourite songs as many times as you like. Enjoy!

 

Comments
by on ‎2012-03-29 12:48 PM

I am happy to say that I am a Premium user since December 2010!

by chumppi on ‎2012-03-31 04:51 AM

Do these changes apply to the mobile side of Spotify too? I was pleasantly suprised that I could once again use Spotify without a subscription and it works great on my desktop but for mobile, the 5-play limit still applies?

by Community Manager ‎2012-03-31 12:11 PM - edited ‎2012-11-19 11:08 AM

Hi Chumppi- You've always been able to use Spotify on your desktop without a subscription. There's just a 10 hour limit for Free users after the first 6 months.

 

The difference is now you can play tracks as many times as you'd like within your 10 hours. No more cap after 5 plays.

 

As far as the mobile goes, a Premium subscription is still needed. If you'd like to upgrade just head over to your subscription page.

by Counta on ‎2012-04-04 12:35 AM

As a frequent user of Spotify, I thank you for the removal of the 5 play limit. There are probably thousands of people who feel the same, but don't have the time (or are simply to lazy) to thank you for getting rid of this highly irritable limit. So on the behalf of about ALL the people I know; thanks.

 

Why did you get the limit in the first place? Was it just to (force)push us into Spotify Premium?

 

 

by Moderator on ‎2012-04-04 08:06 AM
Counta - Thanks for those kind words. The limit certainly wasn't to push users towards a subscription. It was initially needed so we could offer the free service in the long run. We really are incredibly pleased the limit has been lifted for so many.
by on ‎2012-04-04 08:21 AM
What Sam means, but is too afraid to say for fear of rocking the boat in the fractious relationship between the record labels and Spotify, is that the record labels made them do it. Specifically the record labels in the US ahead of Spotify's launch there, which is ironic since US users have never been subjected to these limits and still aren't subjected to the 10 hour limit imposed on European users of the free service.
by princessgleek on ‎2012-04-06 12:30 AM

Does anyone know why the Uk is stuck with the 5 play limit

by jvanderb on ‎2012-04-06 12:59 AM

princessgleek:  That is referred to in the first post on this topic.  Unfortunately, licensing differs from region to region, so at this time, Spotify is unable to lift that restriction.  As soon as a new agreement can be reached between the record labels and Spotify, I'm sure they will lift that restriction as soon as they can.  But for now, the licensing agreements in place with the labels will not allow Spotify to lift that restriction.

by princessgleek on ‎2012-04-06 09:45 AM

oh I know the reason, what I don't know is why licencing is so strict in the UK compared to other countries, why would a label allow people to do one thing in the US and not in the UK, the Uk are in the dark ages when it comes to streaming music

by craPkit ‎2012-04-10 04:44 PM - edited ‎2012-04-10 04:46 PM

@princessgleek

The problem is that many (major and indie) labels have to be negotiated with to make a service like this possible in one country, while many artists are signed to different labels in different countries (especially when comparing US to UK).
Next, you probably have to take different collecting societies into consideration, which will all want (to distribute) their share of your 10 bucks a month (to the artists you play). Just take a look at this wikipedia list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_copyright_collection_societies) to get a basic idea of how many parties are involved "when it comes to streaming music" internationally.

by princessgleek on ‎2012-04-10 05:12 PM

Well ofcause many labels have to be negotiated, but doesn't that go for every country, so my question is why are these labels ok with all but  two countries with spotify having the 5 play thing dropped but not the Uk, it's got to be down to more then just the labels, it's got to be down to laws etc

by Soltanis on ‎2012-04-14 03:50 PM

Not sure why there hasn't be a complete uproar abou this, this is just bad what ever way you look at it.

by dannyboy206 on ‎2012-04-16 01:01 PM

The UK missing out as usual. Several of us use my free spotify account and I can't really justify a subscription with my phone contract etc. I presumed by the title that the changes would be for all markets, but ridiculously this is not the case.

by pandora_ann on ‎2012-04-28 03:52 PM

I'm in the UK but have been using Spotify for quite a while now, much longer than six months.  For almost a year I've been an Unlimited subscriber but switched back to the free account earlier this month as my old card expired and I just haven't gotten around to udating the details yet.  This means the 5 plays limit is new to me and one I'm really not happy about.  This isn't exactly working as an incentive to re-subscribe or buy the song (I've more than likely got on an old CD somehere). 

 

It's a shame as I'm very supportive of the business model and really do think this is the right direction for the music industry to be heading.  Adverts I understand, but a limit on the number of times you can listen to a song is coercion and I will not be coerced into making a purchase.

by Moderator on ‎2012-04-28 03:57 PM
Pandora_ann - As I mentioned before, this limit certainly isn't to push users towards a subscription. It's needed so we can offer the free service in the long run.
by pandora_ann on ‎2012-04-28 04:15 PM

I understand this, but that's what the limit does feel like.  I'm clearly not the only person who feels that way and I'm guessing the majority of people don't bother to make their way to your community pages and search for a thread which explains the reasons behind the limit.  Besides, I believe it is a case of coercion from the labels and rights holders, if not Spotify itself.

 

 

by Moderator on ‎2012-04-28 05:23 PM
Sorry if I sounded a little edgy in my last post. I'd just attempted to sip a bit of tea and missed. We do totally understand where you're coming from, which is why we're working hard to bring these 5 play changes to everyone. Fingers crossed, it'll be sooner rather than later.
by GrimsbyLad on ‎2012-04-30 12:41 AM

I have just received an email from Spotify saying they're missing me. I'm sure they are - I've been a member since about the time Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of Whitechapel, but have got thoroughly brassed off with being unable to play many tracks in my (approx) 400-title list. I have just checked and discover that more than 50 tracks are greyed out. Obviously, the majority of these are my favourites. I wasn't aware of the five-play limit until logging in here, but that is no comfort to me. As a result of this embargo, I returned to another site a while back where there are no such restrictions and I can listen to all the tracks in my 500-title catalogue (even if I have paid for about a dozen of them). I left that site, as I thought for good, and migrated many, many moons ago to Spotify (at their request) because the grass seemed much greener. It was - until some spoilsport sprayed  weedkiller around, leaving ugly brown patches all over my lawn. Sorry, Spotify, but while it may not be your fault I feel extremely p-----d off that once again, we in the UK are handed the **bleep**ty end of the stick to hold. Perhaps those responsible will wake up and smell the coffee before it's too late.

by chrisdq82 on ‎2012-05-02 09:08 PM

yea kinda glad i have the premium plan :smileyindifferent: but its nice to know none the less

by Hoodie on ‎2012-05-03 04:58 PM

I'm going to be perfectly honest, my Spotify account has only just introduced itself to this 5 play rule thing, out of nowhere. You're going to lose a lot of users over this stupid play count thing and the amount of hours availible. Think you should change it back as the UK and France would be very appreciateive, cheers.

by Jude ‎2012-05-04 10:36 AM - edited ‎2012-05-04 10:36 AM

>> my Spotify account has only just introduced itself to this 5 play rule thing, out of nowhere

 

In the markets where we have to have limits for Spotify Free, there are no limits in place for the first 6 months.

 

>> You're going to lose a lot of users over this stupid play count thing and the amount of hours availible

 

We would love to be able to remove the 5 play limit for Spotify Free in the UK and France too, but we first need the agreement of the record labels in those markets. We mentioned this in the original post on this thread:

 

If you're in the U.K. or France, we understand this may feel a bit unfair. Our agreements with the labels differ from market to market. We’re working hard to bring these improvements to the entire service, so watch this space.
by AndyLabancz ‎2012-05-16 11:00 AM - edited ‎2012-05-16 11:00 AM

Why are us free users still being bombarded with ads every couple of songs if there is a 10 hour/month AND a 5 play/song limit? In the case of distributing money to the artists isnt the fact that we are receiving ads Kind of justifying the fact that we get to use the service for free?

by on ‎2012-05-16 11:02 AM

You hear ads and this way service is free for you. Spotify pay for right holders from ads revenue if you are a free user.

by AndyLabancz on ‎2012-05-16 11:19 AM
I get that so please don't insult me intelligence...but why impose a usage limit when ads should be paying the rights holders for what is being listened to by free users...unless you're willing to tell me that not enough companies are advertising though your service and therefor the revenue they are producing isn't covering the free users
by on ‎2012-05-16 11:30 AM
It's not Spotify's idea to impose these limits. They are being forced into it by the record labels in some countries. That's why it's not the same everywhere. The USA has no limits for free users. Everywhere else except the UK and France has the 10 hour limit but the 5 play limit has been lifted. It's only the UK and France that still has the 5 play limit. Why the record labels in those countries are being so strict is unclear, but it is absolutely not Spotify's own choice to do this.
by AndyLabancz on ‎2012-05-16 12:16 PM
I completely accept this fact but surely it's not ALL UK based record labels imposing this limit. Using say, Universal as an example, surely their UK based label would operate on the same contractual agreements an therefor the same limits as their US based label?
by on ‎2012-05-16 12:25 PM
You can't apply logic to how the music industry works, and you'll end up going mad if you try :-)
by AndyLabancz on ‎2012-05-16 12:26 PM
Haha fair enough, I won't argue with that ;)
by thdrake on ‎2012-06-12 12:05 PM

So, can I only EVER listen to a single track 5 times? 

I gather this only comes in after 6 months, which seems to have just happened for me. 

This rule sucks! I am now unfortunately going to uninstall Spotify.

by on ‎2012-06-12 12:09 PM
It's either that or move to a country other than the U.K. or France ;-)
by TheDetective on ‎2012-06-26 01:08 AM

I'm in the US, and I just want to be sure I'm understanding this correctly. I just created my account, so 6 months from now I am going to be reduced to 10 hours listening per month but there will not be a 5 play per track limit. Is this correct? Thanks.

by on ‎2012-06-26 01:13 AM
No, in the US you are the "chosen ones" and don't get any limits imposed even after 6 months. You also get free Radio on mobile without the need for a premium account, unlike the rest of the Spotify world. Lucky you!
by dannyboy206 on ‎2012-06-26 02:34 AM
Surprise surprise the US getting the best deal as usual
by on ‎2012-06-26 08:15 PM
More competition = a good thing

Please Pandora, come to Europe!!
by TheDetective on ‎2012-06-26 10:14 PM

Seriously? That's pretty cool. Does the Spotify web site actually say that anywhere? I'm sort of confused since there have been so many changes to the free service over the years.

by ‎2012-06-26 10:37 PM - edited ‎2012-06-26 10:41 PM

It's not a case of the website explicitly stating that there are no limits in the US, it's more a case of what it doesn't say.

 

If we compare the Account FAQ pages from different countries...

 

In the UK the following page https://www.spotify.com/uk/help/faq/account has a section headed "How much music can I play with Spotify Free?" in this section it states...

When you create your Spotify account, for the first six months, you will have unlimited streaming with Spotify Free. After these first six months some limitations apply.

How much music you can stream Starting with 10 hours, your account will then receive a 2.5 hour streaming allocation each week. Any time that you do not use in that week is saved up. Your streaming time can be saved up in this way to a total of 10 hours. Streaming time is added to your account each week, on the same day of the week that you created your Spotify account, and at approximately the same time of day. There is also a limitation for each individual track*. You will be able to stream each track 5 times in total. The track play count is not reset each week. * If the same recording is available on another album you will be able to stream that track 5 times as well.

 

The same page in Sweden https://www.spotify.com/se/help/faq/account also has a section headed "How much music can I play with Spotify Free?" but it's slightly different (the 5 plays limit has been removed)...

When you create your Spotify account, for the first six months, you will have unlimited streaming with Spotify Free. After these first six months some limitations apply.

How much music you can stream Starting with 10 hours, your account will then receive a 2.5 hour streaming allocation each week. Any time that you do not use in that week is saved up. Your streaming time can be saved up in this way to a total of 10 hours. Streaming time is added to your account each week, on the same day of the week that you created your Spotify account, and at approximately the same time of day.

 

While the same page in the US https://www.spotify.com/us/help/faq/account doesn't even have a section headed "How much music can I play with Spotify Free?" because, presumably, there are no limits in the US.

by Jude ‎2012-06-27 10:48 AM - edited ‎2012-06-29 01:05 PM

Steve: While the same page in the US https://www.spotify.com/us/help/faq/account doesn't even have a section headed "How much music can I play with Spotify Free?" because, presumably, there are no limits in the US.

 

Precisely. But this is confusing people, because they do get to hear about limits from other markets. So I have now added a response to that question on the US version of the FAQ.

 

 

by Xirion on ‎2012-07-01 03:38 AM

I totally understand the adverts and i dont mind them because its just like a radio, but its the fact that nearly all my starred music tracks are all barred because of this annoying limit! :( Unfortunatly i dont use it any more, i just listen to stuff on youtube now which is a shame because i really like spotify!

by mr_rubbish84 on ‎2012-07-07 07:10 AM

I think the 5 listen limit was/is ridiculous and in my own opinoin I think it actually drives people to go elsewhere such as illegal downloads etc.. so if this was put in to place because of licensing by record companies then they kinda shot themselves in the foot. I also think that the 10 hours a months is stupid too! I remember when Spotify Free used to be what it said it was FREE!! 

by Billie-Ingrid_B on ‎2012-07-30 04:43 PM

I'm a teenager, I don't have a credit card, I love music. I used Spotify and found it was the best way to stream music and help the artists.

Now that you've forced the 5 play limit on Spotify I can't use it anymore. I can't pay for £5 or £10 a month and my parents can't be expected to do the same for me and all my siblings. That's £20 a month or £40 a month.

A lot of teenagers feel the exact same way, most of us don't earn money. Especially with the job crisis there's no hope for us to be able to get jobs to pay for this.

 

So what do I do? If something doesn't get sorted then I'll go back to Youtube, at least there isn't a play limit there and basically has all the features Spotify have.

by on ‎2012-07-31 06:52 AM

Billie-Ingrid_B wrote:

I'm a teenager, I don't have a credit card, I love music. I used Spotify and found it was the best way to stream music and help the artists.

Now that you've forced the 5 play limit on Spotify I can't use it anymore. I can't pay for £5 or £10 a month and my parents can't be expected to do the same for me and all my siblings. That's £20 a month or £40 a month.

A lot of teenagers feel the exact same way, most of us don't earn money. Especially with the job crisis there's no hope for us to be able to get jobs to pay for this.

 

So what do I do? If something doesn't get sorted then I'll go back to Youtube, at least there isn't a play limit there and basically has all the features Spotify have.


Hey. How old? I'm 14, and I borrowed a friends NUS card. I have a debit card - go and get a Barclays bank account :)

by ‎2012-07-31 06:53 AM - edited ‎2012-10-19 07:50 AM

I just read the OP. That is UNFAIR.

by Duunari on ‎2012-08-23 07:49 PM

Why the Finnish TOS still then doesn't reflect this change?

 

I just clicked through the TOS after the client update and it still talks about the 5x play limit on the free account?

by Billie-Ingrid_B on ‎2012-08-23 08:07 PM

Even if you do get a debit card or whatever you have still got to pay for it. Where does a teenager get that money from when they don't work, get given pocket money or anything? That was my question. And on top of that where do my younger siblings get the money from?

by elineeklund on ‎2012-08-24 05:17 PM

I hate the fact that they put these restrictions in spotify, at first it seemed great, a music service for free for everyone and no play limits or what so ever, im sick and tired of these big heads and the fact that all they wanna do is make money. I mean didnt spotify make money on the commercial breaks? Appearently not since they made up this new restriction with just 10 hours of music play, and another fact that the minutes doesnt come back, i havent got new minutes in over a 5 months now, what was that again: yes, youre suppoesed to get about 2,5 hours of music minutes per week... I say bull**bleep**! Spotify is just another greedy company which only cares about how much money they make...

 

 

by on ‎2012-08-24 08:59 PM

Hey there!

 

It's not Spotify. Those are record labels. Only record labels said Spotify need to limit play time to free users. And this thing like Spotify do this and all OK or Spotify choose to keep Unlimited music for free with ads and record labels pull music out...

by Moderator on ‎2012-08-27 10:07 AM
Elineeklund - I'm really sorry you feel that way. We are nice people really. These restrictions are not something we wanted to implement really. As Rorey mentioned in the first post, we are always looking to improve the service. Stay tuned.
by fLoreign on ‎2012-09-15 04:03 AM

Well, Pandora seems to be dying and I fear for my unlimited Spotify account.

I have had it for a year or so but haven't really used it much until recently. It would be pretty bad for me if the 10 hour limit would be implemented in the US, since I tend to listen lots of prog rock, with long tracks, frequently going over 20 minutes. Granted, they don't have some; I had to buy King Crimson and two of the longest EL&P's tracks.

 

Also, I don't see anyone having normal working hours (effectively 70-80 a week) could listen much on Spotify. Once you get laid off, yes, you can have the luxury of working towards getting another job only the normal number of 8 daily working hours (normal for the rest of the Western world, anyway) and then listen to some groovy tunes.

by kaz2010 on ‎2012-09-16 03:13 PM

I'm sorry but i didn't get any message about these changes at all!

I am currently a student, and as part of my course i need to listen to lots of different music. I was unaware of any of these limits/changes that had been made, so as a result i cannot listen to anything now to do my research for my uni courses. I don't have any money to spend on stuff like this! not only am i paying £9000! for my uni courses (out of my own savings) but also i have to pay for my own living (off what little loan i can get) in the most expensive city in the world. use your head! i am not the only one in this situation, as many others are in the same boat too! 

well i think you will find now a very annoyed angry customer.

dongle credit, here i come youtube. 

goodbye

by WestJ on ‎2012-09-20 01:12 AM

I am finding the amount of anger to the 5-play/10-hour issue to be ridiculous.

 

Ever since the dawn of time, record labels and distribution agencies have been sucking money out of the public for ages.

 

What the problem is, is that they believe that companies such as Spotify won't be as profitable for them as, say, iTunes or other Pay-Per-Purchase schemes.

 

Why? It's simple. Pay-per-stream is new. And the music industry hates new.

 

A lot of the songs I want to hear, mainly techno, trance, dubstep and drum and bass, are not available in Australia, due to copyright holders being dicks. As for demanding that Spotify magically fix these issues, it's a laughable idea. Spotify is one company trying to persuade a couple hundred companies it's a profitable venture if they release the music world-wide at the same time, with no restrictions. For this to be truly successful, and quickly, Spotify would have to pay more money... Meaning my subscription bill goes up, and your ad numbers increase dramatically. That would make Spotify fold, as no customers would pay, no users would listen, therefore no advertisers would pay, and the music industry will just condemn streaming services as a bust.

 

Spotify is amazing. It's the leader in a new technology. But it has yet to really prove itself as worthy to the music industry. Just be happy that they are working on fixing the issue, and be patient. If you can't, pay for a subscription, like I did, or go buy the album.

About the Author
  • "You like Phil Collins?" "I have two ears and a heart, don't I?"
  • 2012 CM at Spotify 2009 Became a dad 2007 CM at EA DICE 2005 CM at Blizzard 2000 CS at eBay
  • I'm pretty awesome.
Announcements
Featured Articles
Welcome to the Community.
Community Guidelines.
All Release Notes.
Beta Testing.
Community Terms of Use.

Beta Test Spotify Desktop
Would you like to beta test Spotify Desktop?

If so, please log in or register.

More

Please bear in mind that the Community is not an official Spotify support service. It's a place where we all help each other, whether we work for Spotify or not. So please use your discretion when using the forum.