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Spotify expected to announce freemium mobile option

By | Published on Friday 6 December 2013


Now that it’s been decided that Team Spotify aren’t, as it turns out, quite so evil after all, because evil people would never launch a website called Spotify Artists, the streaming music dudes can focus on their next big innovation: free mobile streaming. Because we all know how much artists love the freemium version of Spotify, with the lower royalties it pays out.

To date, of course, the full smart-phone element of Spotify has only been available to those opting for the top tier ten pounds a month subscription package, with mobile listening one of the main attractions for the premium offer. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, the streaming firm is close to launching a new freemium mobile service too.

Though, according to the WSJ’s sources, the free mobile option will be more limited than the premium version. Aside from the inclusion of all those irritating ads, users will only be able to access a limited number of tracks, and a Pandora-style personalised playlist option, where listeners have less control over what they listen to, will be pushed to the fore, it is thought.

That said, in the US, Spotify actually already offers a free mobile option of the Pandora kind, so it’s not clear if the new development will simply see that service upgraded, or if the existing American free mobile option is due to made available in other markets (or both). Though all this is set to be announced in New York, which would suggest a new service for American users too (though Spotify makes most of its announcements in NYC these days, possibly because it has aspirations for an IPO on the city’s stock exchange at some point).

Either way, it’s an interesting development, given that for the last couple of years Spotify has seemed to treat its freemium service as a marketing channel for its pay-to-listen options, with ‘lose the ads’ the main feature to its sell basic five pound premium option, and full mobile functionality the selling point for the higher price service.

The move is possibly a result of streaming music becoming increasingly mobile-centric in the last eighteen months, or because of assumptions that the YouTube audio service that’s in the pipeline, a serious competitor when it goes live, will have Spotify-style mobile functionality, for Android-users at least. Though YouTube audio will be primarily a subscription service and it’s not yet clear what will be available for free.

Spotify is expected to reveal all about its new freemium offer at a doughnut party in New York next week. The doughnuts, we are assured, will be of the non-evil kind.