Big news for Spotify users this afternoon as the company have announced that the app is going free on mobile. As per earlier speculation, mobile listeners will now be able to use the iOS and Android apps to listen to tracks – but there are still going to be some limitations compared to Spotify’s £9.99/month premium option.
So here’s what’s new:
For mobile users, you can listen to your playlists and favourite artists – but here’s the catch: you can only listen on shuffle play. Presumably Spotify are hoping that less precision will lead to people ponying up the cash for the Premium version. The mobile version will, like its desktop counterpart continue to carry adverts every few songs too – though there’s no word yet on ultimate time limits but we expect these to be in line with the desktop app, of up to 10 hours a month.
Unlike Premium users, you won’t be able to play specific songs or download tracks for offline playback (so this will significantly restrict 3G listening) either. But if you’re on your home wifi, this could be nice.
For tablet users Spotify have decided the experience should be as close to the desktop version as possible. So to this end on tablet you can play individual tracks – though, of course – it’ll be encumbered by adverts.
Another interesting benefit of these changes comes to users of Spotify Connect – which is what they call it when you use Spotify on third party devices and websites, like if you’ve got a Sonos system that can play Spotify independently of your computer. Now you can use Spotify Connect without a premium account – but of course, it’ll be limited by time limits and adverts.
Finally, the firm have also announced today that they’ve added Led Zeppelin’s back catalogue at long last.
So it’s a big play by Spotify – and one that is sure to increase the number of people using the service. But it could it turn off loyal premium customers? Are a lack of adverts a good enough reason to continue dropping a tenner a month down the Spotify hole? Will it be a Stairway to Heaven(-ly profits) that will result in a Whole Lotta Love…? Will it be good times or bad times?