Spotify, the audio streaming company, is changing its free service in India to encourage more people to subscribe and improve song recommendations.
Starting from October 9, free Spotify users in India won’t be able to do certain things anymore. They can’t pick the order of songs in a playlist, repeat songs, go back to previous songs, or choose a specific part of a song to listen to.
Spotify is doing this to ensure the free experience is the same for everyone. Free users can still choose the songs they want to play. They can listen for as long as they wish. If they’re going to hear a song again, they can return to the playlist and tap on it.
This change happens when competitors like Gaana and ByteDance’s Resso have already switched to subscription-only services in the last year. Unlike Spotify, which has recently raised prices in countries like the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom, they have not increased their prices in India yet.
For free users, Smart Shuffle will be the new default way to listen; they can’t turn it off. The old shuffle mode will be for premium users only.
Smart Shuffle started in March 2023. It puts Spotify’s song suggestions into playlists that fit the mood of the songs in the playlist.
Spotify mentioned that this feature would make listening sessions more exciting, making the whole experience better. Users can also add or hide songs in their playlists. It will be available in India from October 9 and will launch in other places soon.
Since entering India in 2019, Spotify has seen a significant increase in users. According to the company’s earnings reports, India is in the top five markets for Spotify based on users, and it’s been growing more than expected in recent months.
However, India hasn’t contributed much to Spotify’s overall revenue, a typical pattern for global internet companies.
Spotify mostly makes money from subscriptions, making up about 87 per cent of their revenue in the second quarter. In India, they have plans that range from Rs 7 per day to Rs 119 per month for individuals and up to Rs 179 per month for family accounts.