3 Reasons Why I Cancelled my Spotify Premium after the Trial Period

Cancelled

I just cancelled my Spotify Premium account.  I truly appreciate that Spotify gave me a free trial of Spotify Premium for 48 hours and then an additional 30 days to evaluate the product.  I think more companies ought to do that.  Free trials of the full product gives the user a chance to see the product in it’s full glory without having to commit to paying for something they may inevitably decide isn’t right for them.

I’ll be straight with you, Spotify is a good service, a very good service. However, it’s got several very significant flaws that makes it hard for me to swallow $9.99 per month.  For me, I do not see the value in the product, so I’m calling it quits.

Here’s why…

Ownership: Purchasing vs “Renting” Music

I will give this to Spotify, they have created a truly compelling platform that gives people NO REASON to pirate music anymore.  It is honestly the first product I’ve used that makes me think that SOMEONE out there “gets it.”

Part of the issue before Spotify was the 30 second sample paradigm we got from the digital migration spurred by an arduous agreement reached between iTunes and the Record Labels.  That 30 seconds does nothing to give users a real flavor of an album.  With Spotify, I can listen to an album several times before purchasing.

Here’s the catch, I can do that with Spotify Free.  I don’t need to pay $9.99 to listen to an album in its entirety before deciding whether or not to buy an album or a song, and what I use Spotify for is to sample music and then decide whether or not I want to purchase it.

Personally, I like to own my music; meaning I can do what I want with it including put it on all of my devices.  I’m not a music renter, I’m an appreciator and I buy music I like.  I don’t want to pay $9.99 per month simply for the privilege of renting a song or album to play on my phone and then still have to pay money to buy it for my collection.  That’s crazy!

Family-Sharing

My wife and I share an iTunes library but we can’t really share a Spotify account.

While we have some similar tastes, we also enjoy vastly different music.  We put totally different playlists and types of music on our respective phones.  On Spotify, even if we both load the app, we are now sharing one set of playlists, with no folders to differentiate between mine and hers.  Furthermore, we can’t listen simultaneously, forcing us into 2 premium accounts. That’s $20 per month!

That’s totally insane!

Music Discovery

Pandora > Spotify

Last.fm > Spotify

Spotify does virtually NOTHING to allow me to discover new music. This is especially true on the mobile, which is the whole reason to buy Spotify premium.   Everything on is a process of searching, music doesn’t just come to me like it does on Pandora or Last.fm.   Last.fm even has scrobbling of my various devices (even Spotify), so it is constantly building a music discovery engine for me based upon my interests.

Facebook Integration

This isn’t a Premium feature, it’s just something I want to vent about.  Frictionless sharing is GARBAGE.

1)  Not everything I listen to is an endorsement.

Frictionless sharing is noisy and obnoxious and I wish it would just stop. I’m embarrassed that I’ve listened to a certain Britney Spears song as many times as I have and even more now that it’s plastered all over my Facebook timeline 

2) I REALLY don’t care what my friends are listening to.

Does that make me sound like a jerk that I don’t care?  Well let me explain.

If one of my friends sends me a Facebook message, or posts on my timelines that they “really love this song and think I might like it too,” well then I’d care.  But simply seeing that someone listening to Eminem doesn’t make me feel ANY closer to them, nor does it influence my music taste.  I also don’t have the time to scour each connection for similar music taste.  My sister in law likes Country music.  So does my step-brother.  I F-ing hate country music, so do I really care when they are listening to it?!

**Before you go mouthing off in the comments, I know I can turn it off.  I know I can turn it off for others too, but that defeats the purpose of what could’ve been any otherwise great idea.  My point isn’t to stop sharing, it’s to give us the ability to easily share what we choose to share.   

This music service costs $9.99 per month but does little more than the free service?

On Demand Music Site - Millions of Songs - Online Music - Spotify

Maybe if I was super wealthy, and had already donated a ton of my excess wealth to charity, then maybe I could see blowing the money on this.  But I’ve spent a lot of money on my music collection.  I’ve spent a lot of time organizing it, making playlists and custom mixes.

So yes it’s great that I get to listen to whatever I want on Spotify.  But at $9.99 per month, they are barking up the wrong tree.  In my opinion subscription models in music are inherently flawed especially without significant ways to discover new music.  I’m waiting for iTunes match.

You know what I REALLY miss though?

Lala.

Lala was the music service of the future.  It had everything.  Sorry Lala, you are still missed.

RIP

Google Image Result for http://20somethingfinance.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/lala.jpg

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  • http://www.experiate.net Paul Flanigan

    Jeff,

    I still use Spotify, the free version. Honestly, I have no idea why anyone would pay for it. My 02.:

    First, if $10/month only removes those little 15 second adds every third song, I really don’t care. I can’t remember the radio station, but when I was younger, there was a station that, late at night, would play a full album with a few commercials. Same thing.

    Second, Spotify does not have nearly the selection they claim they do. My music interests are all over the map, so when I would like to hear something rare, they don’t have it. At all. Their selection is really limited.

    So, I use Spotify. If they don’t have it, I move over to grooveshark.com.

    I’ll continue to use it, but I won’t pay for it.

  • http://twitter.com/BreinVanMartijn Martijn

    I have the basic monthly account, so I can only use it on my PC. Really I’m buying off those ads (which are intentionally long and horrible, I’m sure) and keeping the service available. I just love being able to listen to any song that pops into my head or that is referenced by someone. That’s worth 5 bucks to me, but I don’t listen to anything but podcasts on the road so I don’t need the premium package. Nice of them to give me choice in that, I would not have paid $10 per month.

  • http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com Jeff Gibbard

    I’m sticking with my iTunes library, Last.fm, and Pandora.

  • Victoria Locke

    I think the Spotify premium is completely worth the money. If you think about it, it is the cost of one album a month but you have countless songs available at your fingertips.  And with premium you can download music onto your phone for use offline – which comes in handy when you are driving through dead zones. I will never go back. 

  • Brian McQuay

    I’ve canceled my Spotify subscription 3 times over the past few months and yet they continue to keep billing me. When I try logging into the site it lets me pretend to cancel and says it’ll expire at the end of the month but here I am yet another month later and still getting billed. I’ve sent emails and filled out their forms only to never receive an answer. This is fraud at its finest.

  • http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com Jeff Gibbard

    That’s really a shame.  Sorry to hear about that.  I’m really surprised that you’ve had that much trouble cancelling…makes me think I should go through my expenses with a fine toothed comb.

  • STEFMEL95

    HOW DO I CANCEL MY FREE TRIAL???!! PLEASE!! STEP BY STEP PLEASE! CAN YOU PLEASE SHOW ME HOW YOU DID IT?

  • STEFMEL95

    HOW DID YOU CANCEL IT??

  • http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com Jeff Gibbard

    Sign in on Spotify.com.

    Go to Subscription: https://skitch.com/jgibbard/gibmr/subscription [screenshot]
    Change Payment Method: https://skitch.com/jgibbard/gibmg/your-subscription [screenshot]

    Remove Payment Method, then click Change: https://skitch.com/jgibbard/gibmc/change-payment-method [screenshot]

    Hope that helps.

  • STEFMEL95

    wow thank you so much.
    hey i was wondering, if you dont reply to the email for the 30 day free trial after the initial 48 hours can they bill you?

  • Anshsehgal

    Well, Premium does give you the ability to listen to tracks on your iPhone or android, but i agree its not worth 9.99. I am content with the free version.

  • The Doctor

    The issue I have with it is this:

    Say I keep and use Spotify Premium for two years, and then I stop for whatever reason.  I’ve spent $240 in order to keep my Premium account. Let’s not kid ourselves; there are few here who will be using Spotify until they die. Anyway, when I cancel the subscription, I’ve basically wasted $240. Now, I can’t listen to my music on my mobile; I can’t listen to it offline at all; and now I get back to having ads (which aren’t even that bad). The only reason I’d consider paying would be for the ability to play offline on my mobile, since it’s basically just like owning the songs. But when I terminate the subscription, $240 has been wasted.

  • 123

    Wouldn’t the same hold true for paying for cable?  How is that any different?  You could just buy every episode you want on itunes, but most people just pay for a cable subscription.

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    You are correct in that it is similar, except music is more often consumed repeatedly while television shows are watched once or twice.  Additionally, music collections can be built by downloading from a variety of sources or ripped from CDs, while television and movies are more difficult to acquire digitally or to rip from DVDs or BluRay.  

    I would love to “cut the cord” but it doesn’t yet make financial sense to go that direction.  Creating an a la carte solution using digital methods is even more expensive than a cable subscription filled with hundreds of channels you’ll never watch.      

  • Richard

    Hmm, would you also say that money spent on a concert, drinks, gas etc. is also wasted money? 
    I mean, for a lot of things you pay for the experience at a certain moment.

  • Paige Hanchant

    could you please email me and tell me how to cancel the free trial because i fear that if i don’t cancel it now it will start to charge me and knowing me in will probably forget!
    HELP!!!!
    email me on: paigehanchant@googlemail.com

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    Go here: https://www.spotify.com/us/account/subscription/
    Make sure yo hare logged in. Ensure that you are on Spotify Free and not Premium or Unlimited.

  • Jason

    I have to agree on lala. I miss it as well.

  • Joe

    An amazing bargain for a thrilling service. Blows me away at all the music, and all the related playlists now at my grasp. It’s 9.99 – but I don’t see it as paying for the MUSIC. I’m paying for the organization, associated playlists, and easy of use across platforms. Spotify has spoiled me – worth every penny, and for me, much more. No, I’ve no ties to the company!

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    Can’t argue with that. To each their own. Since writing this post I’ve considered buying a subscription, but in the end it’s just too expensive. I have an enormous iTunes library that, with iTunes Match, I can (now) stream. Spotify is good, but for ME, iTunes Match + Pandora is better. It’s also far less expensive.

  • Best_Regards

    $240 with of songs is only 186 songs($1.29 a piece on itunes)…..186 songs in 2 years vs unlimited songs in 2 years….im just sayn

  • Brett

    I dont see why people are still buying albums for 12 songs I am only 16 and pay the $9.99 out of my money for unlimited song downloads on my phone and laptop. I used to download off of limewire before their tragic shutdown but this is the most legal option I have. I know I would never pay $1.29 for ONE song or $9.99 for 12 songs but this I get what I can on my 16 GB micro SD card. plus with as many cars that are coming with Bluetooth auxiliary port in radios that you can plug your phone directly into you can listen anyway.

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    $1.29 is a vast improvement. You used to buy an entire album for $15-$20 even if you only wanted one song. Singles were $1.99 – $4.99. Some would argue that the subscription model that Spotify offers is superior to buying songs at all. As a music lover and collector, I disagree. There are still a large number of artists that do not exist on Spotify, Rdio or other subscription based music services. While it is a step in the right direction, owning your music is still the only way to put together a music collection that suits your taste. The other thing is that with a subscription service, the cost is ongoing while my music library simply exists. I can play any of the 26,000 songs in my collection regardless of whether I ever buy another song, Spotify subscribers on the other hand, will continue to pay $9.99 in perpetuity or risk losing “their” entire music collection.

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  • what?

    ” Furthermore, we can’t listen simultaneously, forcing us into 2 premium accounts. That’s $20 per month!” Are you and your wife the same person?

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    No…but I’m not sure how that’s relevant? We share our iTunes match account for $25 for the year. We could each have a Google Music account with our own music with up to 20,000 songs for free. Is it too much to ask that two people in the same household get to share one overpriced account?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ty.buchanan.75 Ty Buchanan

    The monthly Premium fee is not a price for music. It is blatant renting of music. Paying just means you can PLAY the same songs over and over. If you actually own some songs you can play them any time for nothing. Creators of music get hardly anything from Spotify or the music industry. Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones said in an interview he hasn’t made a cent for over twenty years due to the Internet. Very little trickles down to him. He made his money in the good years. Today he only makes money when he tours. Anyway, Mp3 is rubbish. Get a hi-fi and a CD. Then you can get the full, real sound of songs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ty.buchanan.75 Ty Buchanan

    I would add that there is a price to pay for not forking out to pay a monthly Premium: the “free”, add heavy, service has the music quality dumbed-down a bit. It is noticeable when you transfer tracks to a PC with larger speakers.

  • Kevin

    I’ve used Spotify free pretty much since it came out – they gave me a free month long trial but I never kept it going. The past few days I’m considering going back simply because many people I know are on it, who have tastes in music that enjoy. For the past few years I have used a combination of buying vinyl, downloading via both Amazon and via torrents (depending on a number of factors), listening to specific songs/albums (if they were there) on Spotify free, and a lot of the time on good old Pandora (just love it’s ability to introduce me to good new stuff). I think that, from recent experience, Spotify has tuned their own algorithms a bit as well… the ‘related artists’ tab seems to point me in MUCH more interesting directions lately and I’ve purchased a few directly as a result of that experience. I’d have to say that the one thing that keeps me from pulling the trigger is their lack of Blackberry support for the BB10 (yeah I’m one of the brave holdouts – and it’s been WORTH it for the most part) otherwise I’d have bitten already again.
    At any rate, I really am starting to see the point a few have made here about the cost – at the end of the cost is like buying just ONE album every month, though I also feel where you’re coming from in terms of OWNership. Like I said though, I am considering trying the subscription again if they wind up revamping the BB app, and if that happens I’ll totally know that I am buying the collection and the convenience, monthly…. Just have to think of it differently. I don’t know – having music coming from many different sources can’t be bad. Thanks for the opinion.

  • Karr

    I was looking for a point of view to explain spotify for and like you I love owning my own music. Gracias.

  • kbgDPT

    Overall I agree with your points! The one benefit of premium over free, for me, is the ability to listen on my iPhone. I commute to my school 40+ minutes each way, and I run ~25 miles a week. Being able to listen to as much music as I want, and the music I CHOOSE, versus whatever Pandora decides is best, is a huge benefit for someone who listens to music on the go.

  • Green

    I am new to spotify and I keep hearing the “renting” of music being discussed. I am a premium member and I am wondering if I cancel my premium service, do I still have access to the music I have downloaded in my playlists? Can anyone answer this for me accurately? Thanks!

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    You can always still play the music on the desktop app, but you’ll lose it on the mobile app. And the commercials will come back.

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  • Epis

    I think I’m missing something in your logic. You wrote you own 26 000 songs, which is at least $26 000 according to what you wrote in that post about prices on iTunes. This is 2600 months of Spotify subscription which is over 200 years. How come buying songs turned out to be cheaper for you?

  • http://www.jeffgibbard.com/ Jeff Gibbard

    I didn’t actually build my music collection from the iTunes store. I started building my 26,000 song music collection when I was 8. I bought my own CDs, combine that with my parent’s music library, which was handed down, and my (ex) wife’s music collection (which we joined together), and I amassed a ton of music.

    Because of that, the idea of renting music didn’t make sense…however, I’ve since changed my tune on Spotify: http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com/2013/11/23/3-reasons-changed-tune-spotify-premium/

    I still use my iTunes library at home, but have since switched to Google Music (or iTunes, depending on the device) + Spotify + Last.fm.

  • emrahatilkan

    Limitations is annoying even for premium users. FX: I can’t sync offline mode more than 3 device. What century we are in. I have 5 device just own my own. Syncing was my thing to pay. I will cancel.

  • newyorkcityguy

    Try bringing 200 CDs along while going to the office.