Spotify appears to be toying with the idea of offering two people who live at the same address the ability to sign up for a joint premium subscription, which it’s calling Duo. It was first spotted in Ireland, but is apparently available in Colombia, Chile, Denmark, and Poland too. The plan costs 12.50 euros ($14 U.S.), which is more than an individual plan (10 euros, $11.25), but less than an all-out family plan (15 euros, $16.85).
The only special requirement for enrolling in Spotify Duo is that both members must prove they live at the same address. Spotify has used some aggressive tactics in the past to prevent members of its family plan from abusing the definition of “family,” and clearly doesn’t want to see mere friends take advantage of the Duo plan as a way to avoid paying for individual memberships.
To join Duo, an existing premium member simply invites another person to join them as their Duo partner. The accounts remain separate from a favorites, downloaded music, and recommendations point of view, but there’s only one monthly invoice, which gets sent to the member who issued the invite. If you choose, you can share your playlists with your partner, or keep them private.
One perk to being a Duo member, other than the cost savings, is access to a custom Duo Mix playlist. As you might expect, it’s an algorithmically chosen set of tracks that reflects a couple’s common music tastes. When you listen to it, you can adjust the mood level, from “standard” to “chill” or “upbeat,” and Duo Mix will respond with an appropriately altered set of picks. Cleverly, each track is tagged so that you can see whose tastes influenced that contribution to the mix.
Family plans account for nearly 50 percent of all subscriptions on streaming music services, though it’s hard to say just how many of these plans are being used within each company’s definition of “family.” Spotify’s Duo might be the company’s way of curtailing plan abuse with a carrot instead of a stick. If it has data suggesting that most people buy family plans as a way to save on the price of two individual memberships, but then end up sharing that plan among five individuals, there could be a big revenue upside to offering a plan built just for two people. It may not do much to change the habits of those already enrolled in a family plan, but it could significantly change the behaviors of new members as Spotify seeks to grow its paid membership base.
No word yet on when, or if, Spotify will bring the Duo plan level to more countries like the U.S., but given Apple Music’s popularity in this country, it would seem to be an obvious move.
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