After raising rates, Spotify returns with a lower price choice

Spotify launches new Basic plan for $10.99, offering ad-free music without audiobooks - Image by CoonsumerAffairs

Which is the best? One expert picks their choice.

Well, that didn’t take long. Just weeks after Spotify announced a price hike, the music streaming service thought it best if it offered a less pricey, ad-free version.

Mind you, it’s not all that “less pricey” – only a dollar – but the new Basic Individual plan gives the core of its subscribers all they want. The only thing Spotify has taken off the table are audiobooks. 

The plan could also be the first of several new tiers from Spotify, as the streaming giant is rumored to be developing a "Supremium" plan with high-fidelity audio. A report from Bloomberg says the plan will cost a minimum of $5 more a month.

Bundle, bundle, bundle

Life used to be simple with audio and video streaming services, but those companies have embraced tiers and bundling because it’s attractive to consumers and a money-maker for the streamer. After laying off hundreds of employees, Spotify needed a way to turn its bottom line ink from red to black and it’s now in the bundling scheme, too. 

Here’s what all of the service’s tiers and prices look like:

Premium Individual: $11.99 per month, includes ad-free listening, offline downloads, high-quality audio, and personal recommendations

Premium Duo: $16.99 per month, includes all the same features as the Individual plan, but for two accounts

Premium Family: $19.99 per month, includes all the same features as the Individual plan, but for up to six people living together

Premium Student: $5.99 per month, available at a discount to verified students. Plus, for now, Spotify has bundled Hulu into this tier. However, that could change given the caveat the company lists: “currently includes access to Hulu (with ads) plan, subject to eligibility.”

Basic: $10.99 per month, includes all the streaming music benefits, but no audiobooks

Audiobooks: If you’re an audiobook fan, Spotify might be a better option than Audible. For $10 a month, the service offers about 250,000 books, but you only get 15 hours and unused listening hours expire at the end of the month.

Free: If you can’t afford $10-$20 a month, you might want to try Spotify’s free service. You get all the music you would regularly get, but it’s the features that get taken away that you might miss, such as:

  • Ad-free music listening
  • Download to listen offline
  • Play songs in any order
  • High audio quality
  • Listen with friends in real time
  • Organize listening queues

What’s the best one?

When the chips are down, which of these tiers do streaming experts favor? It’s Spotify Premium, at least with Soundguys. 

“It’s pretty clear that Premium has more features than Free Spotify, but whether or not you’re willing to pay for a subscription depends on you, of course. If you can get a student, family, or duo membership, Spotify Premium isn’t too pricey, but if you’re still on the fence, Spotify has free month-long trials of Premium,” Soundguys’ Sara Carbone writes.

“Like most streaming services, the primary purpose of the free tier is to entice you to move over to the fully featured paid tiers, which can range from restricting features like forcing you to shuffle albums and playlists or hampering sound quality to a clearly audible level. That being said, you’ll still be able to get some casual listening out of Spotify’s free tier, so enjoy the tunes!”

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