Spotify Goes Freemium On Android And iOS

Spotify announced a freemium tier for its mobile users in a bid to compete with Apple’s free iTunes Radio. Spotify sent out the invitations earlier this month, telling media folks about its press event and bribed them with promises of yummy doughnuts. Spotify decided pretty early on to allow free, ad-supported streaming on desktop and web. But now that the company has a stronger backbone and a matured advertising platform, it has taken the leap to bring free music to its mobile listeners. The company’s philosophy is that the more people use the freemium service to play their favourite music, the more likely they are to upgrade to the premium service and fork out the $10 USD/month. This move will hopefully have a positive impact on music piracy and help reduce the number of illegally downloaded music.

How it works

The tablet apps, on both iOS and Android, will work very similar to the desktop option. The users will have access to a select range of tracks that they can access. The smartphone app works slightly different though. Users will be able to listen to their albums and playlist in “Shuffle Mode”. They will not able to select the particular song they want to play. Instead they have to skip forward in a shuffled manner to reach the track they want to play. Of course both these options will have ads inserted between the tracks, in order to make the move profitable or at least sustainable for the company. The ads are still going to be shorter than your average radio ad.

Why Freemium?

This move puts Spotify, one step ahead of its competitors such as Apple, Rdio and Google Play music. While they all have their pros and cons, which is far beyond the scope of this article, they all lag behind Spotify in some way or another. Whether it’s the pricing, the great user experience, the wide range of targeted┬ámarkets or a combination of all above, Spotify remains the leading music streaming service for time being. In order for them to keep that title, they need to keep up with the latest trends. I for one started using the desktop version of Spotify, and within days I decided the service was worth the $10 a month. In return I had the ads removed, had the ability to take my music with me on my phone and could save my music to my phone for offline listening. Without a doubt we’re going to see other streaming services come up with a similar system within the next few weeks as we start the new year.

I’ll be following this topic closely within the next few weeks. Make sure you follow me on twitter and subscribe to the mailing list to stay up to date.