Spotify Expands Free Streaming to Mobile Devices

At an event in New York today, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced a new free streaming service for Android and iOS smartphones. “We don’t want to make another radio-type service,” Ek said. “We want to make something that’s really great — that really fits into people’s lives.” Thus, the focus for Spotify Free on mobile is a Shuffle feature that lets you pick an artist or playlist and hear a stream of shuffled tracks. In other words, the service isn’t straightforward ad-supported streaming on-demand, but is instead more random, like Spotify’s free Radio feature on mobile.
You can pick an artist or playlist to listen to, but you can’t pick which songs you’re going to hear, or in what order you’ll hear them. And there will be ads every few songs, like in Spotify’s free service on web, “which is a lot less than commercial radio,” Ek says. Users get six skips per hour, just like inside its Radio feature. On tablets, Spotify’s new free service more closely mirrors its desktop / web offering, meaning you can pick any song or album and listen to it on demand, with ads.
“We’re giving people the best free music experience in the history of the smartphone,” Ek said. “Spotify for mobile is no longer just for people who subscribe to Premium… and the more you play, the more likely you are to pay.” Spotify’s new mobile apps, available now, look much the same, save for a green “Shuffle” button that appears inside artist pages and playlists for free users. If you try to game the system and create a playlist of just one track or just one album, Spotify adds in suggested tracks that will play every few songs.

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