The music industry winces again as Spotify announced starting Wednesday it’s expanding free music listening to on-the-go users.
VentureBeat is reporting the Swedish-based music service will begin pushing its free-of-charge service to the mobile space — though the company plans to start with tablets only.
At a Manhattan press conference Spotify’s founder and CEO Daniel Ek said,
"What's fantastic is that we’ve really become synonymous with the idea that access has become the leading model to enjoy music." (Via VentureBeat)
Spotify's free service is ad-supported and will compete on the same stage as other complimentary services like Pandora and new-comer iTunes Radio.
However, on its blog, Spotify tries to set itself apart from the competition saying,
"Want to listen to a certain artist? … sit back and listen to their entire catalogue. Don't settle for something similar. Don't settle for just one track from the artist you want to hear every 20 minutes." (Via Spotify)
Keep in mind, there’s a catch. Spotify’s free music listening via tablet might not look like Pandora, but it’s not totally unchained either.
Spotify’s free mobile experience is dubbed “shuffle play”. Free users will only be able to shuffle through playlists they’ve created, a friend’s playlist, or a Spotify-curated playlists on mobile. They’ll also be able to shuffle play an artist’s entire discography. The idea is: you hit “shuffle” and go.
The company hopes the move to mobile will get more users to commit to its premium service, which offers unlimited playtime with no ads for about $10 a month. Until now, only premium users could use Spotify on any supported mobile device — via tablet or phone.
A promo posted by the music listening service reads “Play everywhere for free”, a slogan that sounds like it would make labels like Sony, Vivendi SA, UMG, and Warner reach for a lawyer’s phone number.
However, The Wall Street Journal notes the same companies also own a stake in the Swedish service and reported last week investors have pressured Spotify to sign more users. One way to do that: give free users a small taste of the “premium life”.
Ek says users have generated more than 1.5 billion playlists on the service, according to Business Insider. That should be enough to satisfy nearly any taste in music, but the coming months will tell if it's enough to draw more ears to the service.