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Spotify quietly moves lyrics behind a paywall
May 13, 2024

Spotify quietly moves lyrics behind a paywall

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There were some indications that Spotify was heading in this direction, however. Last fall, the company was spotted locking down lyrics for nonpaying users. Free users who tried to access the feature would see a message that read, ‘Enjoy lyrics on Spotify Premium.’

However, at that time, a Spotify spokesperson clarified that the changes were ‘only a test’ that was taking place with a limited number of users in a ‘pair of markets.’ Spotify is no longer referring to the changes as a test, though it’s unclear why it wouldn’t document access to lyrics as being a premium feature somewhere on its website — like on the page where users can upgrade plans or within its help documentation. That could be because the company is still testing the monthly limit on lyrics for free accounts; free users report seeing messages that tell them that every time they tap ‘Show lyrics,’ it counts toward the new limit.

Spotify didn’t offer any more detail about why it’s now paywalling lyrics, but clearly it’s a bid to push more people to its paid tier. In its most recent quarter, the company reached more than 600 million monthly active users, ahead of estimates, and paid subscribers were up to 236 million+, representing 15% year-over-year growth. However, quarterly revenue had missed analyst expectations of 3.72 billion euros, coming in at 3.67 billion ($3.94 billion) instead.

Whether blocking lyrics will push more people to subscribe remains to be seen. Lyrics are easily available and free via the web and in other apps that work alongside Spotify, like Genius, Apple’s Shazam or Musixmatch, for example.


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