Spotify's Second Price Hike in a Year: Is It Worth It?

Spotify's Second Price Hike in a Year: Is It Worth It?

By: CE Critic

Key Takeaways:

  • Price: Spotify's new price puts it on par with competitors like Apple Music and Amazon Music (for non-Prime members). However, Spotify's value proposition is weakened by the lack of lossless audio, a feature already offered by most rivals.
  • Features: Spotify stands out with its extensive podcast library and social features. However, its limited audiobook offering and the absence of lossless/spatial audio put it at a disadvantage compared to services like Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Tidal.
  • Audio Quality: If high-fidelity sound is a priority, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, and Qobuz offer lossless and spatial audio at no additional cost (or as part of their standard plans). Deezer requires a HiFi subscription for these features.
  • Additional Considerations: Amazon Music's integration with Alexa and its Prime benefits might appeal to those already invested in the Amazon ecosystem. Tidal's emphasis on artist compensation and exclusive content could attract music enthusiasts who prioritize supporting creators.

Less than a year after its last price increase, Spotify is once again raising subscription costs in the US. This move comes amid growing concerns about the streaming giant's financial stability and its ability to deliver on long-promised features.

The Price Increases and Their Impact

Starting in July, subscribers will see the following changes:

  • Spotify Premium: Increases from $10.99 to $11.99 per month (a 20% increase over two years)
  • Spotify Duo: Increases from $14.99 to $16.99 per month
  • Spotify Family: Increases from $16.99 to $19.99 per month
  • Spotify Student: Remains unchanged at $5.99 per month

The company attributes the price hike to its ongoing investment in product features and innovation, a claim that raises eyebrows given the delays in launching its long-awaited "Supremium" plan (formerly known as Spotify HiFi). This plan, announced over three years ago, promises lossless audio quality and additional features, but has yet to materialize.

Financial Concerns and Layoffs

The price increases coincide with recent financial struggles at Spotify. The company has experienced several rounds of layoffs, particularly in its podcast division, and has been grappling with increased costs across the board. This has fueled speculation about the company's profitability and its long-term viability.

Artist Compensation and the "Worst Payer" Reputation

Spotify has also faced significant criticism for its notoriously low payouts to artists. Many artists have publicly expressed their frustration with the platform's compensation model, leading to accusations of Spotify being the "worst payer" in the music industry.

The Streaming Landscape and the Quest for Profitability

Spotify's price hikes are part of a broader trend in the streaming industry, as companies grapple with rising costs and the elusive quest for profitability. Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBCUniversal, and even Netflix have all increased prices recently. This raises questions about the sustainability of the streaming model and its impact on consumer choice.

The Verdict: Is Spotify Still Worth It?

With its second price hike in a year and its ongoing financial woes, Spotify is facing increased scrutiny from subscribers and industry observers alike. While the company claims to be investing in innovation, its track record on delivering promised features raises doubts. Moreover, its reputation as the "worst payer" in the music industry continues to damage its brand image.

Whether Spotify is still worth the higher price ultimately depends on individual users' priorities and preferences. If lossless audio quality and additional features are important, the delay in launching the "Supremium" plan may be a dealbreaker. For others, the convenience and vast catalog of Spotify may outweigh these concerns.

However, it's crucial for subscribers to be aware of the company's ongoing financial challenges and its history of low payouts to artists. As the streaming landscape continues to evolve, it remains to be seen whether Spotify can maintain its dominance while addressing these critical issues.

Spotify's price increase without the delivery of promised features like lossless audio raises questions about its value proposition compared to its competitors. Users prioritizing audio quality or seeking a wider range of content options may find better alternatives with services like Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, or Qobuz.

 Service  Individual Plan  Price  Family Plan Price  Lossless/Hi-Res Audio Spatial Audio  Additional Features  Notes
 Spotify  $11.99  $19.99  No (promised, not yet   available) Limited Podcasts, audiobooks (limited), social features 2nd price hike in under a year
 Apple Music  $10.99  $16.99  Yes Yes Lossless and Spatial Audio at no extra cost, Apple One bundle  
 Amazon   Music  $10.99 ($8.99   Prime)  $15.99 ($14.99   Prime)  Yes Yes Integrated with Alexa, Amazon Prime benefits HD audio included in standard plan
 Tidal  $10.99  $16.99  Yes Yes Music videos, artist exclusives, higher royalty rates for artists More expensive HiFi Plus plan available
 Deezer  $10.99  $17.99  Yes (HiFi tier) Yes (HiFi tier) Lyrics, Flow feature for personalized radio HiFi tier required for lossless/spatial
 Qobuz  $12.99  $17.99 (up to 6   users)  Yes Yes Curated editorial content, focus on audiophile sound Sublime+ plan offers higher bitrates