Spotify’s battle with Apple Music is continuing to heat up. On Monday, the company introduced upgrades to its Premium Family plan, which now offers parental controls and other exclusive features, like a family playlist. Today, Spotify is going head-to-head with Apple on its free trial offer. Previously, new users to the Spotify Premium subscription could try the service free for a month. Now it’s three months — the same as Apple Music.
The company notes this is not a limited-time promotion, the way some of those Spotify-Hulu bundles have been in the past. Instead, this is the new standard for how Premium trials will operate, and is rolling out today worldwide.
The three-month trial will be offered across all of Spotify’s Premium plans, including its Individual and Student plans, where available, and the Family and Duo plans — the latter of which is still in testing, and not globally available.
The trials are offered directly on Spotify’s website, not through in-app purchases or carrier billing plans.
“This has been a huge week for Spotify Premium with two milestones — we’re rolling out an upgraded Family plan and we’re offering the first 3 months of Premium for free to customers that have not tried Premium before,” said Spotify Chief Premium Business Officer Alex Norström, in a statement. “These moments show our commitment to providing our Premium subscribers with the best experience and allowing more listeners around the world access to all that Premium has to offer,” he said.
Since launch, Apple has offered longer, three-month free trials to interested subscribers. Initially, this was a point of contention between the tech company and artists because artists weren’t being paid royalties during the trial period. Taylor Swift used her clout to change that back in 2015, pushing Apple to pay artists during trials, at rates that were similar to Spotify and others.
That said, issues around music rights and royalties are still a point of contention between artists and streamers. This week, Eninem sued Spotify over copyright infringement, claiming the service hasn’t paid him but for a fraction of streams of his music.
While trial length is not the only factor involved in increasing conversions, a longer trial does allow a customer to become familiar with the service’s features and make it more of a habit. And in the case of Apple Music and Spotify, it gives the service’s algorithms more time to personalize playlists and recommendations based on the user’s listening history.
The change to Spotify’s free trials follows a subscriber miss on its latest earnings, when it added 8 million subscribers — below estimates of 8.5 million. This figure includes those on a free trial, so by extending the trial period, Spotify can bump these numbers up. In total, Spotify said it had 232 million monthly active users and 108 million paying subscribers at the end of June.
Apple Music, by comparison, announced 60 million subscribers in June. An April report by The WSJ also put it ahead in the key U.S. market.