Spotify improves free mobile listening with on-demand tracks

Spotify could have revealed many things in its highly anticipated news announcement this afternoon. A first move into hardware with, perhaps, a smart speaker to rival Apple’s HomePod and Amazon’s Echo; possibly an in-car music player of sorts. We’ve been crossing our fingers that a CD-quality tier might emerge.

In more recent weeks, the rumour focus has shifted to an improved mobile app experience for users of its free tier which, while perhaps isn’t as exciting, is good news for the 90 million or so using the free service.

Today, Spotify has confirmed it’s offering a new, revamped mobile app for Android and iOS.

While free users could previously only listen to playlists in shuffle mode rather than specific tracks, the new app will allow free users unlimited listening to as many as 750 tracks across 15 top playlists every month (including Discover Weekly), equating to about 40 hours of music playback. Premium users, of which there are currently 70 million, will - naturally - continue without such restraints.

Spotify has also stripped back the bloatware and streamlined its app to make it easier for users to discover and navigate through music.

The five headers (Home, Browse, Search, Radio and Your Library) have been rolled into just four: Home, Search, Your Library, and Premium. And the separate Browse and Search sections give way to a single Search section, too.

A new 'data saver' toggle also reduces mobile data consumption by up to 75%.

Spotify's motive is clear: improve the app experience to expand its user base, then turn free users into paying subscribers. "The better our free experience is, the more chance they'll become premium users," said Gustav Söderström, Spotify's chief product officer said. "Engagement is the most important indicator of growth."

The new app will be rolled out globally in the coming weeks.

{Image credit: The Verge]


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.