Spotify Community Blog

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 (88,504 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!


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.
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


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 ( 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.

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