Spotify increases prices for Irish subscribers as Daniel Ek prepares bid for Arsenal

Premium plans will cost up to 20% more after string of podcast investments

Spotify: Most of its premium plans will now cost more per month. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters.

Spotify: Most of its premium plans will now cost more per month. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters.

 

Spotify is increasing its prices from April 30th with existing subscribers told their plans will be subject to the higher costs from their June billing date.

The audio streaming service told subscribers it was implementing the price increase “so we can continue to bring you new content and features that you can enjoy as a family and as individuals”.

The cost of Duo plan, aimed at couples living in the same household, will rise from €12.49 a month to €13.99 for Irish subscribers, while the price of a Family plan – which includes up to six premium accounts and a separate Spotify Kids app – will rise from €14.99 to €17.99 a month. Its Student plan will increase from €4.99 to €5.99.

Premium plan

A price rise for the Individual premium plan, which is currently €9.99, has not yet been confirmed.

The increases are not a surprise in light of reports that the company has been testing consumer opinion about higher-cost plans in the UK, where it also announced new prices on Monday. Several other markets have also seen price rises in recent months.

The Sweden-founded service, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, will release its first-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, when it is expected to give more detail about the extent to which a pandemic-related boost to its popularity has slowed down.

The company saw its net paying subscriber base rise by 31 million to 155 million last year, while its non-premium service now has 345 million users. This free version of the app is supported by advertising and has limited functionality compared to the premium plans.

The higher prices have arrived after a spell of investment by Spotify, which has acquired a number of podcast-focused subsidiaries – including podcast advertising specialist Megaphone and podcast networks Gimlet Media and Anchor.

They also come at a time when the absence of live entertainment during the Covid-19 lockdowns has renewed focus on the relatively low sums that artists earn from Spotify plans compared to physical music sales.

Mike Scott of the Waterboys tweeted on Monday: “Just received email notifying me of 20 per cent price raise for my monthly @Spotify subscription. I do hope this will be reflected in a 20 per cent price rise for artists.”

Arsenal bid

Spotify’s emails to subscribers about the planned price increases coincided with a move by founder Daniel Ek to buy Arsenal football club from current owners KSE, with his bid expected to be backed by former players Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira.

Mr Ek initially signalled his interest on Twitter on Friday: “As a kid growing up, I’ve cheered for Arsenal as long as I can remember. If KSE would like to sell Arsenal I’d be happy to throw my hat into the ring.”

The Swedish entrepreneur is estimated by Forbes magazine to have personal wealth of $4.7 billion (€3.9 billion) related to his 9 per cent shareholding.

Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, one of several musicians to have called for artists to get a better deal from streaming, tweeted: “So many artists forced to take second jobs, give up flats because they can’t pay their rent all while getting decent numbers of plays on @Spotify – yet the owner has enough to bid for a Premier League team. It just doesn’t seem ethical to me.”