Spotify under pressure to limit free service

Universal thinks music-streaming company Spotify is giving away too much through its free service and wants the company to rebalance the free:paid ratio.

At this moment, people can listen to music on Spotify for free, but they have to tolerate ads being around. For a monthly £9.99 fee they can get rid of the ads, use Spotify on their smartphones and be able to download music for offline listening.

However, Universal wants that to change. They don’t want Spotify to completely remove the free feature, just to ‘balance’ it a bit more, Financial Times reports.

The report claims that Universal is using license negotiations to push for these changes.

It appears that the problem lies in the service Spotify is performing as, apparently, their service is hurting the music sales through traditional download services like iTunes.

Spotify rejects these claims, saying that only 12 per cent of former iTunes users are on Spotify and that more than 40 percent of those are on the paid service, Trusted Reviews reports.

The report says that no other music streaming service converts more of its users from free to paid tiers.

"Without free, pay has never succeeded," Jonathan Forster, who heads the Nordics region for Spotify, told the Financial Times, The Independent reports.

"We're one of the greenest shoots of growth in the industry. We don’t want to destabilise that. We think that this model works."

Spotify has 60 million users worldwide, and 15 million paying subscribers.

There has still been no comment from the Spotify spokesperson on this matter.