Spotify price rise appears – what to do and how to save money

The music and podcast giant is the latest streaming service to up its subscription costs – and others could soon follow. So what’s the cheapest way to listen to music?

Have you noticed your inbox is full of price rise notifications recently? Spotify is the latest streaming service to hike its rates by £12 a year, hot on the heels of Netflix removing its basic tier for new subscribers and cracking down on password sharing.

The news comes as Spotify, the world’s most popular audio streaming service, with more than 200 million subscribers, has announced higher-than-expected growth, with monthly active users growing by nearly 30%.

Woman holding iPhone displaying SpotifyCredit: Shutterstock/r.classen

At the moment, Spotify’s cheapest paid-for service, Spotify Premium, is £9.99 a month, giving music fans access to their favourite songs without adverts both on and offline. However, millions are now opening their app to be told this figure will rise to £10.99 for existing subscribers from September. 

There’s also Premium Family, which comes in at £16.99 a month, going up to £17.99 in September. 

Spotify blames an “evolving market landscape” for the price rise in a blog post announcing the changes, promising: “These updates will help us continue to deliver value to fans and artists on our platform.” 

Latest innovations include a new AI DJ who picks your favourite songs and more investment in podcasts and audiobooks – despite laying off staff from its podcast division earlier this year.

When we asked Spotify about the price rises and if the extra cash would be passed on to the artists, the brand declined to comment on whether it meant they’d be paying more to those creating the content, but a spokesperson said: “We have a number of different Premium subscription plans that are tailored to users’ evolving needs and we encourage users to check the Spotify website to see if they are eligible for other plans. 

“Our free, ad-supported service is also still available to keep users connected with their favourite music and podcasts, and access to all their saved tracks.”


‘Now’s the time to switch’

Our Editor-in-Chief for Tech, John McCann, says: “No one likes a price hike, so Spotify’s latest announcement doesn’t come as good news to those of us already paying a monthly fee. However, the £1 increase sees Spotify pull its pricing in line with Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited, which means it remains competitive in the music streaming market.

“Not that this will ease the pain of yet another increased cost, and if you were considering moving away from Spotify to another platform, this is the time to do it – especially as some rivals now come in cheaper. You could also consider switching to Spotify’s free subscription, but the trade-off here is you’ll have to listen to ads every few songs.

“Tidal is one such rival which is now cheaper, at £9.99 per month and offers hi-fi sound quality, making it the music streamer of choice for audiophiles. Meanwhile YouTube Music is another option which is also still at £9.99 per month (although we can’t guarantee price rises aren’t on the horizon).

“Apple, Amazon, Tidal and YouTube all offer a free 30-day trial too, so you can try them out without a financial commitment to make sure you like the offering before parting with any cash.”

What’s the cheapest way to listen to music?

All the major streaming services offer a month’s free trial, but remember to cancel it before the end of that period or you’ll be charged when it automatically renews.


Spotify: latest price rise makes it more expensive

£10.99 a month for one account, which includes ad-free music and podcasts, on-demand playback (skip, pause, rewind and create playlists) and offline listening so you can download songs if you’re going somewhere you’ll have no Wi-Fi.

£14.99 a month for two accounts.

£17.99 a month for six accounts, but all members must live under the same roof. Family also lets you block explicit music and gives you access to Spotify Kids, the app with safe content and playlists for younger listeners.

How to save: If you’re currently on the Family plan, but there are only two of you using it, save £3 a month by downgrading to Duo.


Tidal: high quality sound for under £10 a month

£9.99 a month for premium sound quality, no ads, on demand and offline listening with 100 million songs and 650,000 videos.

HiFi Plus
£19.99 a month for even better sound quality.

How to save: Even if you go for the basic HiFi plan, the sound quality is a cut above your average streaming service – and cheaper than Spotify from September.


Apple Music

Apple Music: good value for classical music lovers

While Apple is comparable in cost to Spotify, it does come with higher-quality songs and spatial audio for a 3D effect when listening with certain headphones.

£4.99 a month: no ads, but only useful if you’re mostly listening through Apple’s AirPods or on its smart speaker, as it allows you to request new tracks from the catalogue through Siri.

£10.99 a month, which includes the Apple Music Classical app, a very impressive catalogue of superior-quality classical music.

Unlimited access for up to six people across a range of devices

How to save: If you’re looking to save £5 a month, the Voice subscription has plenty of features and no ads for just £4.99 – although, as mentioned above, you can only use it through the voice assistant (Siri) and there’s limited functionality around saving your music. 

Also if you buy a new iPhone, Apple headphones or speaker, you’ll get six month’s Apple Music (Individual) bundled free.

Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon Music Unlimited: a cost-effective choice for Prime members

This is the plan for those with a Prime membership, and is the same as Apple Music in offering spatial audio and ‘HD’ quality on its tracks, as well as striking deals with many popular podcasts to offer them ad free.

Single device
Play music through voice control from an Echo speaker or smart display for £4.99 a month (although this is a severely limited listening experience when it comes to things like playlists and similar).

£10.99 a month (or £8.99 for if you have Prime) gives you access to on demand and offline listening with 100 million songs.

Family plan
Up to six users can join at a cost of £16.99 a month if you’re a Prime member.

How to save: Prime membership is £8.99 a month with access to deals and free next-day delivery, plus you’ll save £2 a month on your music. Pay for Prime annually (£95) and you’ll shave even more off the price – plus you’ll be able to pay annually to get two months’ listening free (£89 for the Individual plan, £169 for the Family plan). 

YouTube Music

YouTube Music: Youtube isn’t just videos

£9.99 a month for on demand and offline listening, with an easy-to-navigate website and app. It also offers background playback, so there’s no need to worry about your music stopping when you lock your screen or use other apps.

One of the cheapest around at £14.99 for six members of your family to use the service.

How to save: While it’s not technically a saving, if you wanted to spend £2 a month more, you could get access to YouTube Premium, which offers the above but for videos too – on the mobile, this is a win if you wanted to browse other parts of your phone while watching videos and movies on the go.

BBC Sounds

BBC Sounds: great if you love radio

Want free access to BBC radio and playlists? BBC Sounds doesn’t work in the same way as traditional music streaming services, because you can’t just listen to your favourite songs, but it’s a great way to catch up with radio shows around genres you love.

Listen on demand, including Radio 2, Radio 4, Radio 6 Music and Radio 5 Live on your computer, download the app or ask your smart speaker to play it (although we have found issues doing this on Apple’s HomePod). 

You can also listen back to anything you’ve missed, catch up with podcasts and find playlists curated by your favourite DJs. It’s easy to search and totally free.

Should I use Spotify Premium Family?

At £17.99 a month, it’s a good option for a family of up to six. When it originally launched, the six members could be friends as well as family, but in 2019 the company changed its terms and conditions to say all users should live at the same address.

It’s still a good idea if you have a big or extended family, as each listener can each have their own profile, so that you don’t get a surprise Nicki Minaj track when you’re expecting a Motown classic. If you have grandchildren around, you get Spotify Kids for them too, with their own profile and app on your device so you don’t get bombarded with recommendations for kiddie music.

But Family Premium is not the only option for sharers. Couples with opposing music tastes could try Spotify Premium Duo, which offers the same thing but for just two people at a lower price of £14.99.

If you already have playlists on your single Spotify Premium account, you won’t lose them – all your music and recommendations switch over with you. You can change your option at any time, making it the empty-nester’s friend. 

Hannah Verdier

Written by Hannah Verdier


Hannah Verdier writes about fitness, health, relationships, podcasts, TV and the joy of reinventing yourself at 50 and beyond. She’s a graduate of teenage music bible Smash Hits and has a side hustle as a fitness trainer who shows people who hated PE at school how to love exercise.

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