January 10, 2012, 11:23 AM

Spotify plans to end the free lunch

The digital music service will limit free streaming to 10 hours a month.

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Digital music streaming service Spotify plans to begin limiting the amount of free, ad-supported music consumers can listen to for free without paying the service’s monthly fees.

The service, which launched in United States last July after establishing itself in Europe, always acknowledged that the unlimited free streaming would expire after a limited period. However, only now, after the service has established itself via its stand-alone offering on consumer’s computers, as well as its social integration with Facebook, is Spotify beginning to impose the cap.

Spotify’s business model gives consumers six months of free ad-supported unlimited streaming, says a company spokeswoman. That means consumers who have been using the service since its launch will hit the end of that period next week. After that, they can listen for free for 10 hours per month, with a cap of five plays of a single track, according to Spotify’s terms of use.

Once a consumer hits that cap he can pay $4.99 a month for unlimited ad-free streaming or $9.99 a month for unlimited ad-free streaming access to Spotify on his mobile device, as well as his computer.

 

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