Bad news for music fans with Spotify subscriptions. The Swedish music streaming giant has announced new price hikes for its subscription plans, both in Europe and the US. The initiative comes as the service has seen a significant slowdown in the number of new subscribers in the first quarter of 2021.
Music streaming sites were said to be among the big winners of the pandemic. Sector leader Spotify was proof enough of that. At the end of October, the Swedish firm announced a 27% increase in monthly active users, now standing at 345 million worldwide. But the trend appears to have been slowing in recent months, and Spotify is expecting growth in paying subscribers to slow down over the course of the year, according to various sources. And as momentum slows, the music streaming leader is updating its price plans in several countries worldwide.
The price of many of the site's subscription plans will rise as of April 30 in the UK and in certain European countries, including Ireland and France. According to The Verge, the Premium Family subscription plan is set for the biggest hike, with British-based users of the streaming service having to pay £16.99 a month (or €17.99 in European markets), up from £14.99 (€14.99 in Ireland or €15.99 in France). "Premium Student" and "Premium Duo" subscriptions will also see prices rise in the coming days.
"Local macroeconomic factors"
For the time being, Spotify subscribers in the US seem to be spared from some of these rises, although Family subscribers will see their monthly payments increase from $14.99 to $15.99. While the measures are due to come into effect at the end of April, existing Spotify subscribers will remain on current tariffs until the June billing period.
Still, this courtesy hasn't stopped certain users from speaking out against the price hikes on social media. Scottish musician Mike Scott, for example, took to Twitter to muse about whether the higher tariffs would trickle down to artists.
The Swedish firm sought to justify the price rises by citing "local macroeconomic factors" in a statement published by TechRadar. "With more than 70 million tracks and 2.2 million podcasts, Spotify continues to innovate and invest in providing our listeners with greater value than ever before, including the best audio content and user experience. We offer a variety of subscription plans tailored to our users' needs, and we occasionally update our prices to reflect local macroeconomic factors and meet market demands while offering an unparalleled service," said a Spotify representative.