Spotify is Adding FREE Mobile Streaming…

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In response to angry artists Spotify is… giving away even more?

Spotify will release a free ad-supported version for mobile.

This service is currently available on computers. As of right now, most mobile users can only play local tracks and radio for free. The Windows mobile app is only available with a premium subscription.

There are limitations however, all designed to entice movement towards paid plans.  The Wall Street Journal reports that users will only be able to listen to a limited number of tracks, which will be added to a playlist. This playlist can be played on shuffle for a limited number of times.  If there’s room in the playlist, Spotify will add its own suggested tracks. These free tracks will not be available for offline listening, a feature only available for premium users.

Spotify reportedly has licensing agreements with the major labels for the new service.  These negotiations took about a year to complete (and undoubtedly involved their own pounds of flesh and first borns).  The labels are also hoping that this will draw in more users who will eventually pay, but they may also collect “significant ad revenue” from the expansion.

No word yet on what artists will collect.

21 Responses

  1. GGG

    If everything is limited, the idea is trying to entice people to subscribe a little more heavy handedly. They should be doing that more with the computer version, too. 6 months, or 500 streams or something. This isn’t a play to get more free listeners as much as it’s a play to convert more into subscribers.

  2. question

    i use spotify sometimes and if i want to listen to the same song over and over i zip it back to the start of the track just before it ends. I can do this endless times and never get served an ad. What’s the situation there? Is any revenue being generated or is it counting as one play?

    no one seems to be able to answer this but it seems sort of important.

    • jw

      Yeah, you could do that endlessly if you had no life.

      I’d guess it counts as one play, but that’s an edge case. The “repeat” button was invent in the ’70s along with one of the first cd players. Most people have learned how that works by now. Just create a playlist & loop it. And deal with the ads or buy a plus subscription.

  3. FarePlay

    By all means, free represents the least resistance to success. If your success is measured by “free” subscribers.

    People keep defending Spotify and I don’t know why. Clearly they are not interested in building a profitable, sustainable business and by doing so are asking artists to go into business with them for the exposure. I’m getting very tired of the same people saying “give them time, everything will work for the artists. I don’t believe them.

    Some artists have the power to remove their music from Spotify and until they do, Spotify wins.

  4. jw

    The spin on this article is pretty lame.

    Everyone’s goal right now should be format transition. We’ve been stuck in a busted format for almost a decade. Limited free use of future-format services like Spotify mobile is probably the brightest light in a dark tunnel for the recorded music industry. Get them hooked, & get them subscribing. This “pay me now!” rhetoric is pretty tiring.

    No word yet on what artists will collect? How is that relevant? The payout to the label is relevant, & artists know what they’ll get according to the contract they signed their name to. Or are we operating in a fantasy world where artists aren’t obligated to their legal agreements & Spotify singly responsible for putting food on all of these tables?

    For as hard a time as DMN has given tech companies with supposedly “unsustainable” revenue models like Facebook & Twitter, it seems to be lobbying pretty hard for a CLEARLY VERY UNSUSTAINABLE artist-backed push for increased payments from services like Spotify & Pandora. The only consistent thread through all of these articles is anti-technology.

    Thinking about starting a company where any artist who writes a song gets a limousine & case of cognac & an album-cycle worth of mac & cheese delivered by helicopter, regardless of whether the song is even good. I’m sure artists will love it & I’ll be in business for a long ass time.

    • FarePlay

      “Everyone’s goal right now should be format transition.”

      Can you possibly be that out of touch with the way many musicians and even fans feel about Spotify? Oh, I know, where’s my data. And I’m sure you have some. Either created by Spotify or underwritten by Spotify.

      JW, your opening, quoted above, certainly sounds like hired cheer leader material. Rah, Rah, Go Team.

      • FarePlay

        Time is money. My guess is the principles at Spotify had to give up a solid chunk of equity to get the 250m. That IPO can’t possibly come to soon.

        In fact, I’m sure that’s what Spotify is saying to everyone connected with the brand: “Everyone’s goal right now should be format transition.”. Are you sure you didn’t hear that at a Spotify Briefing? Sounds kind of awkward as a call to action for the masses.

        • jw

          If you don’t see the upside to mainstream streaming, I don’t know what to tell you. It really has little to do with how artists feel. If they want to take their music off of Spotify, they have the option to. But they’re going to come running back as mainstream consumers begin to engage with the format.

          When investors invest in Spotify, 70% of that money is paid out to labels. Spotify gets $250m, $175 goes to labels, & artists get whatever percentage they signed up for. What is your problem with Spotify raising cash?

          And so what if they go public & the investors who have been putting money in the pockets of artists for all these years get their money back? There’s like 17 internet software & services companies in the S&P 500. Many (if not most) of the world’s most respected, useful, & profitable companies are publicly traded… just because a company goes public doesn’t mean that it has no future. Just because some asshole got burned during the dot com bust doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with Spotify raising capital or transferring that ownership to willing stock investors. And for those who pooh poohed Facebook, it went public at $38 & is at almost $48 right now. No one got swindled, those initial investors are up 25%. (If you got in at the bottom, when all the pundits, including DMN, were declaring that FB was a flop, you’re up more than 250%.) And there was an article on CNN today that Facebook will likely be the frontrunner for inclusion in the S&P when Koch acquires Molex. Which would make 18 internet software & services companies (and counting).

          Explain to me why a Spotify IPO would be so terrible. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to hear this. Because that just sounds like a line to me.

          • GGG

            Countdown to Fareplay saying he has no interest in responding to you despite already doing so twice…

            in 3…2…1…

  5. Casey

    Not the right direction. They need to add value to the paid tiers to increase subscribers, not the free one. What have they done since launching in the US? They have extended unlimited free accounts from 6 months to indefinitely, added a free web player, free mobile radio, and now free on-demand.

    • TuneHunter

      …and free Shazam …and free similar tune ripper. (Curtesy of The Echo Nest)
      Original Napster was just a Ford T plowing in to the music industry and musicians. Just accident.

      Totally blessed by labels Spoofy with total portability and all features is equivalent of John Deer farm harvester eating up the business and business opportunities.

      Well, global chief of digital music at Universal loves it and hopes to see great results.
      It is so great they have bought in to this business!

      Same Universal is behind Veevoo – desperate beggar on the lower deck of the biggest pirate boat.

      There is 100 billion dollars of music around us and we do have tools to gab it! Lets do it.

  6. Edward Jennings

    Maybe its just me but this “leaked” news isn’t enough to hold a press conference about this week. Especially when Spotify receives a 250 million in investment funding. There has to be something more significant than this happening with Spotify.

    Quite frankly the the free-ad supported mobile is a yawner, just saying.

    • TuneHunter

      Music industry is far from Detroit.

      Let’s collect all the goods from the street and put them behind the store front WALL.
      Digital can, has to and will be contained!

      It is not property of current, misguided, custodians.

      We just need to change mentality of max ten folks at the labels and RIAA to double the business in 36 months and reach100 billions by 2020.