Enjoying Spotify's free tier? Well, you might be hearing a limited selection in the near future. Digital Music News reports that the streaming service plans to offer some of its content only to paying customers. As it stands, subscribers get to skip the ads that non-paying listeners are subject to, but folks who aren't opening their wallets still have access to the full catalog. This is the main gripe both Taylor Swift and Prince have with the company and a key reason why both of them pulled their music from the service. According to the report, the "gated access" could mean select releases won't be available unless you're paying for a subscription and others will only be available to listen for free for a short time. Another outcome could be that when a highly-anticipated album drops (a new Kayne record, for example) subscribers will get full access while free accounts can only listen to a few tracks. The exact details of the premium-only offerings are said to still be in the works.
Why is Spotify doing this now? The Digital Music News report also explains that Spotify's licensing deals with the three major labels (Sony, Universal and Warner Bros.) are up for renewal on October 1st and new agreements have yet to be signed. If Spotify wants to continue offer a catalog of over 30 million songs, it may have to cave to the demands of labels in order to keep its massive catalog intact. If it does plan on offering subscriber-only content, the company hopes to convert some of those 55 million users to paying customers. A lot of folks will probably look for a free option elsewhere or be content with reduced access. We've reached out to Spotify for a comment on the matter and we'll update this post when/if we hear back.
[Image credit: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic]