Spotify is applying new restrictions on users who listen to music on the streaming service’s free plan in India. The company has started to place limits on how users on the free plan can play tracks, including the ability to choose the order in which songs are played on the streaming platform. The move is part of the Swedish company’s attempt to turn its large userbase in the company that is currently on the ad-supported free tier to paying subscribers.
As part of a recent update (via Music Ally) that rolled out earlier this week, Spotify has begun to restrict how users on the free plan will be able to access music via the platform. Users will not be able to turn off the “Smart Shuffle” playlist option, play songs in any order, or use the traditional shuffle option without a Spotify Premium subscription.
In addition to the limitations placed on the track order, Spotify will also prevent users from “scrubbing” tracks. This means that once a song has started to play, users won’t be able to go back to a specific part of the track — or tap the back button to go to the start of the track. They will also need a Premium subscription to play a song on repeat.
These new restrictions appear to have rolled out to users widely over the week, with users complaining about the change on X (formerly known as Twitter) and commenting on the company’s Instagram posts. Gadgets 360 was able to confirm that the limitations have been enabled on Spotify for Android after updating to the latest version.
As per the Music Ally report, India is in Spotify’s list of top 5 countries — with regard to monthly active users. While the percentage of Indian users who pay for a Premium subscription is reportedly higher than other regions, the country is not one of the most profitable regions for Spotify.
In India, users can purchase automatically renewing Spotify Premium plans starting at Rs. 119, or opt for prepaid plans instead that start at Rs. 129. The former is slightly more cost effective on a monthly basis, while the annual prepaid Premium subscription offers a considerable discount — at Rs. 1,189 — compared to the free plan, which would cost Rs. 1,428. Spotify also offers smaller plans that start at Rs. 7 per day, called Spotify Premium Mini — this plan limits the benefits of the subscription to the mobile apps.