If you enjoy a free Spotify account you’re used to listening to the service’s large music catalog from your computer, but not your mobile device. That’s because mobile listening is only available to paid customers, although you can get a 30 day free trial to give you a taste.
According to a report by the Verge, Spotify may be looking to offer more free mobile listening as well. The company is negotiating with the major labels for this and to lower the royalty rates it pays for access to their catalogs. Presently one quarter of Spotify’s 20 million worldwide users subscribe to the paid service, which cuts out commercials and provides higher quality streams, in addition to mobile playback.
As one of the key features that attracts paid subscribers, one would guess that Spotify hopes it would hook more of them if they could try out mobile listening for more than a month.
However, not all paid subscribers are necessarily so happy with all aspects of Spotify’s service. LA Weekly blogger Emily Lundquist just wrote about overbilling issues she experienced with Spotify. Lundquist was charged twice in one month when she signed up for the service and wasn’t able to get a refund until she contacted her credit card company. Her editor received two additional charges after canceling the service in January, only to be told that Spotify would just continue service through March.
These sound like growing pains to me–if I’m going to be charitable–and the sort of issues that can’t continue if Spotify expects to greatly increase its paid subscriber base. I’ve never had a paid Spotify subscription, but learning about how these billing problems happened to music journalists who had access to Spotify’s head of communications make me reluctant to chance the hassle.