A number of Spotify users began to notice something strange over the last day or so: the in-app lyrics, which typically pop up under the currently playing song, were suddenly locked away under a paywall. Instead, they saw only a notification bubble saying, “Enjoy lyrics on Spotify Premium,” with a link to sign up. Many Spotify listeners were not enthused.

Spotify tells us that the feature is only a test. “At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests, some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning,” says CJ Stanley, Spotify’s co-head of global communications. “We don’t have any further news to share at this time.” Stanley later followed up to add that “In keeping with our standard practices, we’re currently testing this with a limited number of users in a pair of markets,” without specifying which markets, how many users, or how long the test might last.

While it’s possible that Spotify will bring lyrics back in front of the Premium paywall, it’s certainly true that the company is on the hunt for anything it can do to get users to pay up. After pouring billions into podcasts and audiobooks to little effect, it seems to have largely given up on the idea that exclusive content is the path to riches. Instead, the company appears to be looking to build other kinds of features users might pay for. That’s especially important as the price of Premium, like so many other streaming services, continues to rise.

The Verge