Spotify, provides us with a free and legal way to stream music from a huge selection of artists. But that might change in the future, as Spotify is said to be working on an option that allows artists to choose whether or not their music is available for free accounts.
According to sources of The Wall Street Journal, Spotify is in talks with record companies about this possible new rule, which the companywould first implement as a test. The purpose of this test is to check if limiting the amount of freely available music has an influence on the sales of subscriptions and usage of the service.
Currently, the company hasn't made a decision yet about which artists will be able to join this test or limit the availability of their music, but it's been made clear that Spotify won't change their policy for all artists any time soon.
At this moment, artists that provide their music on Spotify can only choose to provide it to all the users regardless of whether they're paying subscribers or not. This however has already sparked some issues with certain artists, for example: Taylor Swift removed her entire music collection from Spotify last year, citing that streaming music services didn't value her art appropriately by making it available for free. At first, she requested to make the new Taylor Swift album "1989" available only for paid users in the United States, but Spotify didn't fulfill this request, and as a result all her music was removed from the service.
Right now, all of the content offered on Spotify is available for all members, though members with a paid account are able to listen offline, and without ads. The free version of the service limits you to the shuffle option, and has ads between songs. Spotify currently has about 20 million paid users and 80 million users with a free account.
Source: The Wall Street Journal