A couple of weeks ago, Spotify were promising a big new approach, and they've just announced what it will look like:
First up is Spotify Unlimited, which offers you round-the-clock, ad-free access to Spotify on your computer. Create playlists, build your own library, share music with friends - and all for only €5 a month.
Also available from today is Spotify Open. Open offers new Spotify users the chance to try out the service without the need for an invite, giving access to millions of tracks for up to 20 hours every month - that’s equivalent to listening to 25 albums or 300 tracks EVERY month!
The first one is curious - it suggests that they're having difficulty getting people to sign up for the full-subscription model, and so have come up with a lite package which does everything the full subs do, except for the mobile bit. Initial instinct is that it's not cheap enough to persuade people to change, and they've probably got the offering the wrong way round - I could see people interested in a mobile-only subscription, but doubt a mildly cheaper desktop-only version will do much to drive sign-ups.
The stripped-down, invite-avoiding free version, though, might work - allow people to find out exactly what's on offer, make them yearn for your product, and then say 'now you must pay'. It works for smack dealers, why shouldn't it work for Spotify?
I do wonder if the cut-off point for free is going to work for them - I'm not about to slam Spotify for being too generous, but if you really want people to sample and then pay, you might want to think about not setting the paypoint higher than 'more than enough for most users'.