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Spotify is known for testing the waters when it comes to plans and features, and now the streaming giant is trying a new subscription on for size: a 99-cent, ad-supported tier that would allow for unlimited skips and the ability to choose tracks.
That’s the word from The Verge, which reports that random Spotify Free users are seeing offers for the plan, which is dubbed Spotify Plus.
Spotify confirmed the plan to The Verge but stressed that Spotify Plus is only a test for now, and that it’s experimenting not only with the functionality but also with “a variety of price points.”
As it stands, Spotify Free on mobile devices usually restricts you to just six track skips an hour, and you can only shuffle artists and albums rather than tee up specific tracks. The exception is if you’re listening to one of 15 auto-generated playlists; in that case, you can pick specific tracks as well as skip as often as you like. Either way, you’ll have to tolerate ads after every three or so songs.
On desktops, Spotify is a little more generous with its free tier, allowing users both unlimited skips and on-demand tunes, although the ads are still there.
Spotify’s test with a cheaper “Plus” plan makes plenty of sense, offering users a relatively painless way to improve the iffy Spotify Free listening experience; after all, being able to choose what you’ll be hearing next takes some of the sting out of the frequent commercials.
At the same time, the Plus tier would make it easier for Spotify to convert free listeners into paying subscribers. Spotify may have a whopping 365 million “monthly active” users, but only about 165 million of them are paid subscribers. (Of course, that “only” figure is still the envy of the music streaming market.)
Don’t get too excited about the Spotify Plus plan though; it is only a test, and Spotify has been known to test features and plans indefinitely, sometimes without ever making them official. (Speaking of which, where’s that Spotify Hifi plan we were promised?)
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart home and home entertainment products.