Inflation’s Silent Impact: Student Discount Programs Get Costlier as Streaming Giants Raise Prices

Samantha Miller
  • Major streaming services like Spotify, YouTube, and Paramount have discreetly increased the cost of their student discount plans, impacting the budgets of college students.
  • While overall inflation rates appear to be slowing down, the rising prices of student streaming subscriptions reveal a hidden financial burden on young consumers.
  • Even seemingly small price hikes, like a dollar increase, can significantly affect students' monthly expenses, potentially reshaping their choices and loyalty within the streaming industry.

A silent storm is gathering to attack one of the most sought-after demographics: college students, in the ever-changing realm of streaming entertainment, where content is king and competition is intense. While news outlets trumpet an end to inflation, students on campus are experiencing something very different.

Young customers have been left scrimping as streaming giants like Spotify, YouTube, Paramount, Apple, and Amazon have discreetly increased the prices of their student discount schemes.

The Student Discount Dilemma

Students on a tight budget who yet want to see the latest movies and listen to the newest songs and TV episodes have long found relief in discounted streaming subscriptions.

For businesses, offering discounts like this is a smart way to attract new customers and win their loyalty from a young age.

Students have been flocking to these services in recent months since they were seen to be inexpensive.

Paramount Plus: A Dollar More

Paramount Plus, an advertising-supported streaming service, increased its fees last month without much fanfare. The service’s monthly fee increased from $4.99 to $5.99, which seems reasonable.

However, students who are enjoying a 25% discount would see their monthly fee increase to $4.50 from $3.75. Even if it seems insignificant, when money is tight, every little bit helps.

Spotify’s Harmonious Price Surge

Spotify, the popular music streaming service, increased its prices in July along with the rest of the industry. There was a $1 rise across the board for its premium plans. Students who were previously paying $4.99 a month now pay $5.99 for their musical escape, a 20% increase.

YouTube Premium: Tune in, Cash Out

YouTube, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, also used inflation as a selling point. In July of 2023, the price of a premium student subscription, which allows for commercial-free film and music streaming, increased from $6.99 to $7.99 per month.

As a result of this and other increases in premium YouTube pricing, students now have a few dollars less to spend each month.

Apple Music’s Costly Note

In June 2022, Apple secretly increased the price of its student tier, despite the company’s reputation for being user-friendly. Like Spotify, the monthly fee went up by $1, from $4.99 to $5.99. Apple Music, formerly a student budget-friendly option, now requires a little larger financial commitment.

Amazon Prime’s Student Blues

Students love Amazon Prime for its rapid shipping and streaming features, but the company didn’t avoid the price increase wave. In early 2022, the student membership fee increased from $6.50 to $7.49. Prime Video and Amazon Music Prime are still available to students, although at a slightly increased price.

The Ripple Effect

These increases may seem minor, but they are indicative of the larger inflationary pressures that the ordinary college student is experiencing.

What was once an inexpensive way to relax is now out of reach financially for many students. Streaming services may experience repercussions from this change in the long run if they succeed in turning off their most loyal customers.

As a result, streaming services may need to rethink their strategy for attracting students, who have been their most loyal customers despite the gradual increase in the cost of living. Discounts may have enticed them in the past, but sudden price hikes have some people wondering if the show is still worth their money.

Keeping student budgets in mind may be the key to long-term success in the ever-changing streaming business as the competition for customers heats up.

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Samantha Miller is a business and finance journalist with over 10 years of experience covering the latest news and trends shaping the corporate landscape. She began her career at The Wall Street Journal, where she reported on major companies and industry developments. Now, Samantha serve as a senior business writer for, profiling influential executives and providing in-depth analysis on business and financial topics.
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