"In keeping with our standard practices, we’re currently testing this with a limited number of users in a pair of markets."
Spotify has confirmed that they are testing a paywall on the song lyrics feature in an effort to turn free users into premium subscribers, as per Billboard.
Currently, the lyrics appear for most songs through the app, when users scroll up, though Spotify has now begun hiding the lyrics to songs from users in some areas who are not subscribed to their premium service.
“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,” a company spokesperson told the publication.
They added, “In keeping with our standard practices, we’re currently testing this with a limited number of users in a pair of markets. We don’t have any further news to share at this time.”
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I gotta stop updating my Spotify app. It’s like they can’t breathe if they don’t make bad updates every couple of months. They replaced the lyrics section with an “about the artist” section and I’m perturbed.— Scott Fryberger (@scottfryberger) September 7, 2023
The change has understandably received major backlash from Spotify users, with some noting the hypocrisy over how little artists are paid by the streaming giant.
“So they want to make people pay to read lyrics but no one wants to fairly pay songwriters to write those lyrics?!” on Twitter user fumed.
Unless you’re going to pay artists more, artists should not put their Lyrics on Spotify anymore. https://t.co/zlQwD4D7GH— Stellumii (@Stellumiii) September 6, 2023
Another added, “Pssst. Spotify also asks indie artists to pay a 3rd party service to get their lyrics uploaded in the first place. Unless your song is really popular, then they’ll just do it for free. The problem continues to be the socialisation of labour, private appropriation of profit/product.”
Previously, Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek attempted to explain the business model between artists and Spotify amid growing criticism against the platform.
"We don't pay artists directly," Ek told CBS News' Gayle King.
"[Artists] have their deals with their record companies and their deals with their publishers, et cetera," he said. "And what Spotify does is we pay out to those record companies and these publishers, and don't know what individual deals these artists may have."
Spotify later created a website in 2021 called Loud & Clear to show exactly who receives payments.
"It's a complex topic," Ek added. "But I wish I would've handled it up front. And it's very hard to change the narrative once that narrative has established itself."