Science & Tech

Spotify sparks fury by making major lyrics change

Spotify sparks fury by making major lyrics change
Spotify quietly removes feature from free version
Bang Showbiz - Tech / VideoElephant

Whether it’s trying to figure out what Eminem is saying at speed in “Rap God” or helping us learn the words to all 31 tracks on Taylor Swift’s new album The Tortured Poets Department, lyrics are pretty important for getting fans closer to the music they love – but now, Spotify wants you to pay up for the privilege.

The decision follows an initial test of placing its lyric feature behind its Premium subscription in September last year, with the company’s co-head of global communications CJ Stanley telling The Verge at the time that they were trying out the experiment “with a limited number of users in a pair of markets”.

He said: “At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests, some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning.”

Now it seems the music streaming giant is all too happy to go ahead with the change, as users of the platform’s free membership have reported being encouraged to “enjoy lyrics on Spotify Premium”, with one dialogue box stating “there’s a monthly limit on lyrics”.

“Every time you tap ‘show lyrics’, it will count towards your limit. To get full access to lyrics, switch to Spotify Premium,” it reads.

Unsurprisingly, Spotify users aren’t happy.

It's hardly music to their ears (sorry), with some arguing an accessibility feature shouldn’t be paywalled:

In the ‘App Help’ section of its website, Spotify says only paid users will have “unlimited access” – even though they acknowledge in the next sentence that “lyrics may not be available on all songs and devices”.

“New lyrics are added every day, so you may find it added in the future,” they write.

An Individual subscription on Spotify Premium costs £11.99 a month in the UK, or $10.99 in the US, and in addition to unlocking lyrics, removes ads in between songs and restrictions on playing songs in a certain order.

Spotify has been approached by indy100 for comment.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

How to join the indy100's free WhatsApp channel

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)