Spotify Launches Basic Plan in U.S. That Excludes Audiobooks for $10.99 per Month — a Discount of One Whole Dollar

Spotify is giving listeners who don’t care about having access to audiobooks as part of their subscription a $1 monthly price break.

On Friday, the audio streaming giant announced a new Basic subscription plan, priced at $10.99 per month. The single-user account provides access to millions of songs and podcast episodes without ads, but excludes the audiobook perk that is included with the regular Premium Individual plan, which currently costs $11.99 per month.

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“Enjoy the music streaming benefits of your Premium plan without the monthly audiobook listening time,” Spotify said in announcing the Basic tier. On its higher-priced premium plans, Spotify includes access to 15 hours of audiobook listening time per month from a catalog of more than 250,000 titles.

The launch of Spotify’s Basic plan comes less than three weeks after it hiked prices for most of its existing plans. The Individual plan increased by $1, from $10.99 to $11.99 per month, while the Family plan, which provides access for up to six members a household, went up by $3, from $16.99 to $19.99 per month. The Premium Duo tier, offering two accounts ad-free music listening (plus 15 hours of audiobook listening time per month), rose by $2 to $16.99 per month.

Meanwhile, Spotify in the U.S. also offers an audiobooks-only plan, priced at $9.99 per month, that includes the 15 hours of audiobook listening time.

With the introduction of the Audiobooks Access tier (as of March 1), Spotify was able to pay lower music-licensing rates for the plans that bundle music and audiobooks together. A 2022 settlement agreement between the National Music Publishers Assn. and streaming services includes a carveout for bundles (such as Amazon Prime and Apple Music + Apple News), which Spotify’s new music-plus-audiobook plans fall under. Such plans lower the mechanical licensing rates the company pays in the U.S.

Last week, the NMPA filed a complaint with the FTC against Spotify, primarily to oppose the music-and-audiobooks bundles, which the association estimates will lower mechanical royalty payments to songwriters and artists by $150 million annually. Spotify has confirmed that the bundles afford it to pay a lower royalty rate but the company claims that overall earnings for creators will continue to rise.

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