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Spotify lifts time limits -- letting users listen on and on

At one time in some European countries, only people paying $10 a month could listen to music streaming on the Web indefinitely. Now, anyone can.


Spotify upped the ante in the music streaming game on Wednesday by getting rid of all time restrictions on Web listening. Now, users in all countries where Spotify operates can stream music for free on the Web endlessly.

"In the past, we had to restrict your listening time to some hours a month once a 6-month unlimited grace period had passed," Spotify spokesman Diego Planas Rego wrote in a blog post. "But now, if you haven't noticed, there's no more time limit if you are using Spotify for free. We have removed these caps completely across all platforms -- you can listen to your favourite songs as many times as you like, for as long as you want."

Before today, users in several European countries were allowed free unlimited ad-supported streaming for six months and then were restricted to a handful of hours a week. Users that paid a $10 monthly fee didn't have any time limits. Now, that's changed. However, those users who want ad-free music can still pay the $10 monthly fee.

The time limits were never a practice in the US.

Last month, Spotify announced a new feature that allows anyone with an iOS or Android tablet or smartphone to use its music streaming app for free. There aren't any time limits with this feature either. Since the announcement, the service has seen its user base multiply.

By introducing free streaming on several platforms, Spotify appears to be working to get in league with music streaming giant Pandora. Still, it's lagging behind Pandora, which has about 72.4 million active listeners and more than 200 million registered users. Spotify's most recent numbers from last March show upwards of 24 million active users and 6 million subscribers.

Update, January 16 at 7:47 a.m. PT: Added details of time limits.