Spotify Mobile for Free Listeners is About to Get a Big Update

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Spotify's chief R&D officer reveals the new ad-supported mobile version at a news conference in NY
Spotify’s chief R&D officer reveals the new ad-supported mobile version at a news conference in NY

For those who use Spotify Premium, this news is of little to no consequence. Keep paying, keep streaming without ads. For those who depend on the free Spotify service, your mobile app just got a whole lot better – and bigger. “Freemium,” as dubbed by Gustav Söderström, Chief Research & Development Officer, Spotify, is the improved and more personalized way to listen to what you love on Spotify (NYSE: SPOT).

The new ad-supported Spotify is a natural next step as Spotify continues to innovate and evolve for the needs of its users, and with a new design on mobile, ‘Freemium’ includes a number of new features to make the listening experience more tailored to what listeners need to hear, now.

 “At Spotify, we believe in music for everyone – and today, we are one step closer to making that a reality,” said Söderström.

Personalization and control have been two of top features of Spotify Premium for a while, and now Spotify’s 90 million free users will get to benefit from personalized music delivery and a tailored discovery platform, as well as unlimited skips and the ability to select a song at will. The goal? Make Spotify Yours.

“Our customers always tell us that music discovery and listening is a personal experience, and we are enhancing the free experience with this in mind,” said Babar Zafar, VP of Product Development, Spotify. “This is the beginning of an evolution for Spotify and we will continue to make improvements that mirror our customers’ needs. This is not only about giving users a more customized free experience from the day they sign up, but giving them more control over their listening experience so they can easily find and stream their favorites anytime, from anywhere.”

The two questions at the forefront are: What differentiates premium from free? And, how will this affect artists and their royalties? As mother always said, nothing is free. In the case of premium, the core benefit is streaming sans ads. There’s nothing quite like setting the mood – be it a party, or a romantic dinner for two – and getting slammed with a McDouble ad. People aren’t going to jump ship from that freedom.

As for artists, there are more than 90 million people using the free version of Spotify. That’s a pretty big audience to ignore.

Artists will be able to “see engagement stats for both [ad and premium] tiers in Spotify for Artists just like before, and your customizable Artist’s Pick and About Page will display to both types of users,” a company memo stated. “We think these changes will increase the number of music fans using Spotify, regardless of whether they’re ready to pay a monthly subscription or not.”

And in Spotify’s words, in accordance with their company mission: “Having more fans discovering more music brings us closer to our goal of reinventing the streaming music landscape, making it a truly rewarding experience for fans and artists alike.”

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