Spotify testing removal of popular feature from free tier

If you use Spotify’s ad-supported tier and love using the app to check out the lyrics of the songs you listen to, an unpleasant surprise could be coming your way.

Why? Because the company is experimenting with making lyrics a premium-only feature.

In recent days, a number of Spotify users on the ad tier noticed that they’d lost the ability to see the in-app lyrics, which usually appear at the bottom of the display when a song starts. Instead of seeing the lyrics, a message appeared suggesting users “enjoy lyrics on Premium,” together with a link to subscribe to the service.

In a widely reported statement, the music streaming giant has confirmed that it’s currently testing the idea with a limited number of Spotify users in several markets. Presumably such a test can only involve removing lyrics from the ad-supported tier and monitoring how it goes down with those affected (probably not very well!).

The test is an effort to nudge people toward paying for a monthly subscription as Spotify works to turn a profit after reporting a loss in its last quarter. Its balance sheet has come under pressure partly due to huge investments in podcasts, which, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday, hasn’t gone at all well for the company. It also spent big on severance payments after laying off 6% of its workforce earlier in the year.

There’s no guarantee that Spotify will permanently remove lyrics from the free tier, but hopefully it won’t be too long before we know for sure.

For users in the U.S., Spotify Premium currently costs $10.99 per month for an Individual account and $14.99 per month for the Duo option that offers a couple of Premium accounts for two people who live together. A Family account for up to six people costs $16.99 per month, while students can sign up to Premium for $5.99 per month. The free, ad-supported tier  comes with various restrictions on the mobile app (eg. shuffle mode only, maximum of six skips per hour), though the desktop version offers a more complete experience — along with intermittent ads.

Spotify routinely offers free trials and other deals, for example, new Individual accounts currently cost $10.99 for the first three months, thereby getting you two months for free.

Interested in finding out more about the two most popular music streaming services? Digital Trends has compared Spotify with Apple Music to find out which one is best.

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