Hulu wants to get more Spotify users hooked on its streaming TV package: All Spotify Premium users in the U.S. will get access to Hulu’s streaming VOD plan with ads for no extra cost — if they take advantage of the promo in the next three months.
The catch is that Spotify customers must move to claim their free Hulu account before June 10. In addition, the number of Spotify accounts eligible for the offer is capped (the companies aren’t disclosing the number). Once they opt in to the offer, Spotify Premium subscribers will get access to ad-supported Hulu indefinitely at the $9.99-per-month bundle price, with no expiration date.
The two companies teamed up a year ago to offer Spotify Premium and Hulu bundled together for $12.99 monthly. Under the new offer, new and existing Spotify Premium subs who pay $9.99 per month will get Hulu’s VOD tier with ads included; the promotion also can be viewed as a temporary price cut of the Spotify/Hulu bundle. (Subscribers who are currently paying $12.99 per month as part of last year’s bundle offer will be automatically reduced to the regular Spotify Premium $9.99 price during the promo period.) After the promo ends June 10, Spotify will reinstate the $12.99 price for the bundle with Hulu’s ad-supported plan.
Hulu has aggressively pushed such promotions and discount pricing as it continues to build up its base in the face of competition from Netflix and other streaming rivals. Last month, Hulu lowered the official price of the ad-supported plan from $7.99 to $5.99 per month, while it hiked the price of the live TV service by $5 to $45 per month.
Meanwhile, the new Spotify-Hulu promo comes two weeks ahead of an event planned by Apple — a key Spotify rival — where it’s expected to unveil a new subscription-video streaming service.
Why is Hulu eager to essentially give away the ad-supported VOD plan for free? First, consider that Spotify is likely still paying Hulu some amount per each bundled VOD account (just as T-Mobile pays Netflix for the “free” accounts the wireless carrier includes with unlimited family plans). In addition, Hulu earns incremental ad revenue from the entry-level package, and it wants to grow that: The company generated nearly $1.5 billion in advertising revenue in 2018, up 45% year over year.
Hulu claimed its subscriber base topped 25 million in 2018, netting 8 million total new subs for the year. It doesn’t break out which plans those customers are on, but the company says a majority are on the ad-supported VOD plan.
To sign up for the new Spotify Premium with Hulu offer, existing Spotify Premium users can visit the “Your Services” page on to activate Hulu’s ad-supported plan as part of their account. New Spotify Premium users will have access to both Spotify Premium and Hulu for free for the first 30 days and then will be billed $9.99 per month. In addition, if you already have an ad-supported Hulu account, you can get the bundle deal by subscribing to Spotify Premium and then switching your billing to Spotify.
Spotify subscribers who take the Hulu offer cannot access the Hulu Live TV or the no-ads Hulu plans, nor can they add any premium network add-on (like HBO, Showtime or Starz) to Hulu. Note that the services aren’t integrated: Users access the Hulu app or hulu.com to watch shows and movies, and the Spotify app or spotify.com to listen to music and podcasts.
According to Spotify, Hulu’s originals have boosted listens of songs featured in the shows. For “The Handmaid’s Tale,” U.S. streams of Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and Dusty Springfield classic “I Only Want to Be With You” — both featured in season 2 episodes last summer — increased 86% and 127%, respectively, in the week after the episodes debuted. Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” streaming soared 433% after it was featured in the “Handmaid’s Tale” season 2 premiere episode.
Meanwhile, Hulu’s original high-school comedy “Pen15,” which debuted last month, features Bikini Kill’s “DemiRep” in its title sequence — and listens of the track jumped 96% the week after the series premiered. Streams of “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo popped 105% and The Cranberries’ “Dreams” shot up 304% after they were featured in “Pen15.”
In addition to the general Hulu bundle, the music-streaming service also offers a special $5-per-month Spotify Premium for Students plan in the U.S., which includes ad-supported Hulu and Showtime.