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Spotify higher-priced subscription package could launch this summer

By | Published on Wednesday 21 June 2023


Spotify could start rolling out its long anticipated higher-priced premium package later this year, according to sources who have spoken to Bloomberg. And, it seems, free access to some audiobooks will be one of the perks used to persuade subscribers that they might want to pay more each month.

For the music industry, of course, a priority of late when it comes to Spotify subscriptions has been trying to persuade the market-leading premium streaming service to increase its baseline price point.

That has been 9.99 ever since the late 2010s, with bundles and emerging market pricing all discounted from there. Because of inflation, that means the actual value of each Spotify subscription has been declining year-on-year.

The streaming firm has increased some of its prices in some markets, mainly around bundles, though – with many of its competitors having now increased the 9.99 baseline to 10.99 – the pressure is really building on Spotify to follow suit. Which it almost certainly will do sometime relatively soon.

But are there other ways that Spotify could be getting more money out of each subscriber each month, other than by just increasing the baseline price?

Spotify has been considering offering a higher priced premium package with extra benefits for some time, the assumption being that that would include access to higher quality audio, something the streaming firm has been actively promising since 2021.

Except, while for a time some of Spotify’s competitors had a ‘higher-quality-audio-for-more-money’ option, Apple then decided that higher quality audio should come as standard. Because, you know, Apple had hardware to sell that needed easy access to better audio quality.

So what else could Spotify bundle in to justify the price of a higher level premium product? Well, given Spotify is busy trying to move itself beyond music and podcasts and into audiobooks – but with its current a la carte audiobook offering somewhat lacklustre – how about including some audiobook goodness in with the new extra premium subscription package?

“To augment its current ‘Premium’ tier, Spotify will give subscribers expanded access to audiobooks”, Bloomberg reports, “either through a specific number of hours free per month or a specific number of titles. There will be an option to purchase more. Currently, the company only sells audiobooks a la carte through its app”.

Bloomberg’s sources reckon that this new higher priced subscription package will arrive in the US in October, but will go live in other markets earlier than than. The newswire also reports that the new product is being referred to internally at Spotify as ‘Supremium’, which seems like a good reason for hoping this entire plan doesn’t succeed.

For Spotify, getting a higher priced subscription package off the ground would help placate investors who are increasingly looking for more profitability from the streaming business. To what extent it would also boost the revenues in which the music industry shares isn’t clear.

When other services simply offered higher quality audio as the benefit of their higher priced subscription packages, that directly benefited the music industry as well as the services, because both had more revenue to share in. Though if audiobooks are a key part of Supremium, then presumably a chunk of the extra subscription money will be allocated to books rather than music. Though, who knows how such things will work behind the scenes?

Responding to Bloomberg’s report on all this, a Spotify spokesperson said: “At Spotify, we are constantly iterating and ideating to improve our product offering and offer value to users. But we don’t comment on speculation around possible new features and do not have anything new to share at this time”.

“Ideating”? I take it back, maybe ‘Supremium’ isn’t that bad after all.