Spotify puts publicly available lyrics behind a premium paywall in 'routine test'

This seems to be another move to attract more paying users.


Spotify is experimenting with the offerings of its Premium service. Over the last few days, several Spotify users on the free tier noticed they no longer had access to in-app lyrics. Instead, they were greeted by a notification bubble saying, “Enjoy lyrics on Spotify Premium,” along with a link to sign up. Spotify says putting the in-app lyrics behind a paywall is just a part of its routine testing.

"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,”

Spotify's co-head of global communications, CJ Stanley, told The Verge. “We don’t have any further news to share at this time.” It's possible Spotify could remove the paywall and make in-app lyrics available to all users again, but there is currently no timeline for that.

This test comes at a time when Spotify has laid off employees from its podcast division, which the company poured quite a bit of money into in recent years. And despite raising its prices and actively working to grow its paid subscribers, it's still losing significant amounts of money. Spotify's decision to experiment with the possibility of making lyrics a Premium feature shows that the company is searching for ways to get users to pay for a subscription. However, this might not be the best way to do so as some users who have noticed the change are not happy about it.

In-app lyrics was one of Spotify's most requested features and the company began testing in 2019. In 2021, Spotify officially rolled out the feature, which allowed users to see and sing along to the words of their favorite tracks. This was available to all users — on both free and Premium versions and on all platforms. While charging for a previously free feature will always bring about some negative feedback as people adjust, some users believe this move would be discriminatory to people with disabilities.