Spotify’s Basic plan returns to $11 a month by cutting audiobooks

The music industry has accused the company of using audiobook integration to decrease royalty payments.


Spotify has a new plan for US subscribers that keeps you on the old $11 monthly pricing — as long as you don’t mind ditching audiobooks. The new Basic tier includes the music and podcast content you get from Premium but without 15 hours of audiobook access, a recently added feature we suspect many subscribers don’t care about anyway. Spotify said earlier this month it would hike Premium prices to $12 per month, beginning in July.

The Basic plan echoes one it rolled out in the UK last month. That one costs £11 per month compared to £12 for Premium with audiobook content.

Some have suspected Spotify’s audiobook push has nefarious motives. Earlier this month, the National Music Publishers’ Association asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the move, going as far as calling the company’s audiobook integration “a scheme to increase profits by deceiving consumers and cheating the music royalty system.” The NMPA complaint claims Spotify will pay about $150 million less in music royalties over the next year because of its audiobook fusion. Spotify told Engadget it did nothing wrong and rejected the accusations.

Spotify has been penny-pinching in other areas. It was reported last year that the company planned to overhaul its royalty model. One alleged part of that plan was to demonetize tracks earning less than five cents per month, pushing out some indie artists without established audiences.

Spotify also laid off around 9,000 employees late last year, citing “the gap between our financial goal state and our current operational costs.”

You can switch to the audiobook-free tier (which is now live) by navigating to your account page, then “Manage your plan” and “Change plan” and picking Basic. If you’re a new subscriber, you can choose the Basic option when signing up.

Update, June 21, 2024, 2:36 PM ET: This story has been updated to note that the ability to sign up for the Basic plan is now live.