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One Spotify Premium plan just got pricier. Should you still pay for it?

Spotify has raised the price of one of its Premium plans. Here's how to choose between the Family, Duo and Individual plans or if you should just use the free version.

At this point, I've used Spotify for several years, and can't imagine switching to any other service for my music streaming needs. The app is one of the most used on my phone and laptop. I'd tried Pandora and Google Play Music back in the day, but never felt compelled to invest in their premium features. When I finally gave Spotify a chance, I was quickly won over by the personalization -- the curated playlists, the radio stations and the fact that the app was constantly improving itself. My only qualm -- the library song limit -- was resolved earlier this year. 

I'm not alone. Since launching back in 2008, Spotify has become one of the most popular music streaming services, building on its features and expanding to more than 70 million songs and podcasts and 356 million users. Spotify's flexibility and free tier give it a competitive edge over Apple Music. Over the last year or so, the music streaming platform has added Spotify Connect for more listening options and Spotify Duo, another subscription offer between Spotify Premium and Spotify Family. Just this past month, it also launched its own podcast subscription platform, a smart music player for your car and the ability to download songs on both your phone and laptop

However, those changes come at a cost: As of April 30, Spotify is raising the price of its Family Premium plan by $1, to $16 a month. 

For a while, I used the free version of Spotify, but there are restrictions. Thirty-second audio ads play between songs every so often. Sticking with the free version also meant seeing display ads. I was unable to choose individual songs to play -- every album, playlist or radio station must be played in shuffle mode, and you can only skip songs six times in one hour. There's also no offline listening. Finally, I decided to make the upgrade to a premium account. 

Upgrading your Spotify plan or swapping between plans is pretty easy. Open Spotify in a web browser or in the desktop app. Click on your profile icon and choose Account in the drop-down menu. In the sidebar, click on Available Plans and from there, you can select a new plan and switch over. (And if you're a college student, you're in luck: Spotify offers a $5 ad-free plan that includes both Hulu and Showtime, too.) 

If you want to upgrade to Premium, here's how to pick between Spotify's three paid subscription plans.

Read more: Best music streaming service for 2021: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal and YouTube

Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify's Premium subscription covers one account for $10 a month. There are no ads, and you can skip songs as much as you want. If you're listening in the mobile app, you can download content to listen to offline. If you use Spotify often, hate ads and only need one account, this is your best option.

If you're not sure about switching, you can try Premium free for 30 days before you're charged anything. The only downside is that the free 30 days doesn't extend to the Family or Duo plan if you've already used it once. 

  • How much it costs: $10 a month
  • What you get: One account, no ads, skip songs, curated playlist, download songs
  • Free trial: 30 days 
Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify Family supports up to six accounts -- making it a good choice for roommates, friend groups and, well, families. As of April 2021, the subscription costs $16 a month (a $1 price raise) and offers ad-free, on-demand playback and offline listening, plus unlimited song skipping. Splitting the cost of a Premium account among at least a few people will definitely save you some money each month. Plus, a playlist called the Family Mix curates from everyone's listening choices, which could make long road trips a bit more bearable. 

If you're sharing with your family, you can set up the app to block explicit music for younger users. Check out Settings on mobile, desktop or tablet and toggle the option on or off. And if you're sharing your account with younger users, you can check out Spotify Kids, an ad-free companion app for kids ages 3 to 12 and up with child-friendly songs and playlists, singalongs and audiobooks. Spotify Kids is free, but only if you subscribe to the Family plan already. Just log in with your main Premium Family account. A kid's profile on the app counts towards one of the six on your main account. 

  • How much it costs: $16 a month
  • What you get: Six accounts, skip songs, download songs, shared curated playlist, Spotify Kids app access
  • Free trial: 30 days 
Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify's newest plan, Spotify Duo, lets two Premium accounts merge for $13 a month. This is a good option for couples, as well as roommates. You still get to keep the premium features: no ads, on-demand playback, offline listening and unlimited song skips. But you don't have to pay $10 a month each for separate accounts, or upgrade to a full Family plan for $15 a month.

Users also get a Duo Mix playlist -- like the Family Mix on Spotify Family -- that automatically generates music based on shared preferences. 

  • How much it costs: $13 a month
  • What you get: Two accounts, skip songs, download songs, shared curated playlist
  • Free trial: 30 days 

Once you've decided on the right plan for you, you can also check out how to connect your Spotify account to your Google Home device, and how to use Spotify Connect to bring your music to your home stereo system.

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