MUSIC STREAMING SERVICE Spotify announced a concession to its free users today by lifting the previous ten hour limit for listening on the web, meaning that people can now listen all day, every day.
On its company blog Spotify posed the question, "Music makes you happy - why limit your happiness?" But some users have posed the counter question, "I pay £10 a month for a premium service. Why do I need it now?"
The answer is, of course, advertising. The premium service still exists to provide an alternative for people who want their music to come uninterrupted. In addition, premium users can select specific tracks via mobile, as opposed to playlist shuffles, and can access offline music.
However for the majority of customers who don't pay, this will be very welcome and another nail in the coffin of physical music releases - which has been illustrated in this poster we spotted on London's Soho today, marking the demise of HMV.
The news comes as Spotify prepares for battle with the latest rival to enter the fray, as overpriced headphone maker Beats will launch its own music streaming service on Sunday.
The power of the Beats brand, as shown by the number of people who walk around wearing £200 headphones listening to mp3s encoded at 128kbps, could spell trouble for Spotify because, although it's a new player, Beats has a lot of influence among the hip and trendy.
This is the latest move by Spotify to ensure its position in the lucrative music streaming market. With rival services from Google and Pandora continuing to gain traction, the service only recently permitted streaming to mobile devices free of charge, a feature that had been available for some time from its rivals. µ