Spotify Puts Unlimited Lyrics Behind a Premium Subscription

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Key Takeaways

  • Spotify is quietly setting limits on free access to lyrics.
  • Some users are now asked to pay for Premium once they reach their cap.
  • The effort could help Spotify's bottom line.

Spotify has started limiting free users’ access to lyrics, and is now pushing them to a Premium subscription for unlimited access.

As Dexerto learned, at least some free Spotify users have been told there’s a “monthly limit” on lyrics. You’ll need to subscribe to Premium for “full access,” the company said.

Spotify hasn’t directly commented on the move. However, it said on background that features can gradually vary across devices and markets. TechCrunch noted that Spotify was testing the change last fall.

It’s not clear how many users now have a lyrics limit on Spotify, or how long it might take to reach all users. The rationale is self-evident, though, as the cap potentially spurs more listeners to sign up for Premium.

Spotify has mostly been performing well. While it added 15% more paid users in its latest quarter compared to a year earlier (now totalling over 236 million), its revenue was also slightly disappointing to investment analysts. The lyrics strategy might drive memberships and boost revenue even if the total listener base grows slowly.

The effectiveness of throttling lyrics access on Spotify isn’t certain. It’s easy to find verses through web searches and key apps. The pay-to-read feature also risks prompting some users to switch. If they only keep to Spotify because it’s free, they may jump to a competitor like Apple Music if they feel they’re losing too many features.