Why Spotify is Limiting Free Users in India: A Full Analysis

Spotify, the popular music streaming service, has recently changed its free tier in India. The company aims to encourage more users to switch to its paid subscription model. This article provides an in-depth look at these changes and their potential impact on Spotify’s user base and the music streaming industry in India.

Key Takeaways

  • Spotify has limited features for free users in India.
  • The company aims to increase its paid user base in the country.
  • Industry experts see this as a positive shift towards a subscription model.
  • Other music streaming services have also moved towards paid-only models.
  • Spotify faces challenges like high digital piracy rates in India.
Why Spotify Is Limiting Free Users In India

The Changes in Detail

According to a TechCrunch article, Spotify has imposed several restrictions on its free-tier users in India. These changes include:

  • No Manual Song Order: Free users can no longer play songs in a specific order.
  • Limited Controls: Features like rewind, scrub, and repeat are now disabled for free users.

Why Now?

Spotify launched in India in 2019 and offered a liberal free tier to attract users. However, the company believes the market has matured enough for them to push for more paid subscriptions.

Market Response

Industry experts view this as a positive development that could lead to a shift towards a subscription model in India. However, it remains to be seen whether these restrictions will encourage users to opt for a paid subscription or switch to another service.

Spotify Free Limiting Features For Users

Comparison with Other Services

Spotify is one of many music streaming services making such changes. Last year, Tencent-backed Gaana moved to a paid-only model. ByteDance-owned Resso also scrapped its free tier in India earlier this year.

Challenges Ahead

Spotify faces several challenges in the Indian market, including:

  • High Piracy Rates: According to the Indian Music Industry, the digital piracy rate in India is 73%, much higher than the global average of 30%.
  • Low Subscription Rates: India is not among the top 10 markets in terms of subscriptions, as per a report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).


Spotify’s new restrictions for free users in India mark a significant shift in its business strategy. While the move aims to increase the number of paid subscribers, it also comes with challenges, such as high piracy rates and low subscription numbers. Only time will tell if this strategy will pay off for Spotify in the long run.

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