Spotify Is Testing a New Super-Cheap Subscription Plan, but It Comes With Ads

Spotify Is Testing a New Super-Cheap Subscription Plan, but It Comes With Ads
Photo: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images, Getty Images

In an effort to expanding its offerings and potentially give customers more flexible pricing, Spotify has begun testing out a new super-cheap subscription that starts at just $1.30 a month.

Positioned just above the basic free tier, Spotify Plus represents a significant cost saving over Spotify’s existing $15-a-month Premium plan and includes perks like no track or skip limits and the freedom to listen to specific songs at will instead of being limited to playlists. However, the downside is that in exchange for that super affordable pricing, you’ll have to listen to ads.

While Spotify Plus is not yet widely available, Spotify has begun testing its new subscription in the wild as spotted by a reader who sent screenshots of the new trial offers to the Verge. After the new Spotify Plus plan was discovered, Spotify later confirmed that the company was testing out new plays in a statement saying “We’re always working to enhance the Spotify experience and we routinely conduct tests to inform our decisions. We’re currently conducting a test of an ad-supported subscription plan with a limited number of our users.”

However, a Spotify spokesperson was quick to point out that currently the super cheap Spotify Plus plans are still in the testing phase, so there’s a chance Spotify Plus might be tweaked or possibly even cancelled before getting an official release. “Some tests end up paving the way for new offerings or enhancements while others may only provide learnings. We don’t have any additional information to share at this time.”

With Spotify facing continued pressure from rival streaming music services (most notably Apple Music), its new test suggests the company is looking for a way to expand its userbase while also generating increased ad revenue — an income stream that’s also bolstered by its aggressive push into podcasting.

During its most recent earnings report in June, Spotify claimed the total number of active Spotify subscribers reached 158 million, representing a 21% increase year-over-year. Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t been quite as forthcoming when it comes to providing subscriber numbers for Apple Music, as Apple hasn’t released an official subscriber count since June 2019. However, based on estimates from MIDiA Research, after getting off to a strong start back in 2015, it seems the rise in Apple Music subscribers has begun to level out, with Apple estimated to have 72 million subs as of March 2020.

That said, despite having announced its own HiFi tier earlier this year, Spotify still hasn’t officially released its high-quality audio streaming tier, unlike Apple, which launched support for Spatial Audio and lossless streaming back in June (or July for Android users).