Spotify halves listening time for free users – time for its users to cough up the cash?


In a blog post today… Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has outlined some changes to the free service. They include cutting the amount of free listening to ten hours a month and limiting the number of plays of a certain song to just five per month. The changes will come in for most people at the end of April.

As a subscriber I welcome the move. Spotify is the best £10 I spend each month. The ability to access all those new albums, as well as the huge back catalogue, and have chosen tracks on my iPhone and iPad is easily worth that rather paltry investment.

Spotify has been too generous with its free offering and if it is to survive and prosper – and it would be a disaster for both music lovers and the European tech industry if it went under – it needs to get a wider subscriber base.

So, if you use the free service now is the time to cough up the cash, especially if you own a smartphone. What does £10 buy you these days anyhow?

Might branded Twitter pages be a waste of time?


There are strong rumours today that Twitter is about to start offering brands Facebook style pages, where in addition to their tweets they can host video, give followers offers and add other types of media.

On one level this seems like a no brainer for Twitter. Branded Facebook pages have become hugely successful and large brands without them are now the exception rather than the rule.

Secondly Twitter is constantly looking for revenue sources that don’t impede too greatly on its core offering and branded pages would tick this box too.

While we don’t really know too much about the pages at present there are some fairly hefty obstacles that Twitter will have to go to to make them work

1 The pages will be inevitably be hosted as web pages. As a large percentage of Twitter users never visit the .com pages instead using third party apps like Tweetdeck or using smartphone apps, it is likely that the branded pages could simply pass them by.

2 One of the best things about Twitter is that it is easy to use. Users follow brands for many of things that they in theory could deliver via a full page eg offers, customer service etc. By adding dedicated pages this will complicate Twitter’s core service for brands which will make it less user-friendly.

3 Twitter doesn’t seem to be making much progress on its existing commercial offerings like promoted tweets or promoted accounts. Call me cynical but I think the company is doing just about enough now to hint that it could make serious pots of money for whoever decides to buy the service this year.

So while I am intrigued by what Twitter will offer brands, I can’t see the pages rivalling branded Facebook pages for a long time yet.