The Spotify faithful will waste no time in telling you how much they love the service, and after today, they may have more to rave about. At an event in New York today (as reported by the Verge), Spotify announced a new free streaming service for iOS and Android. This is a first for Spotify, as mobile streaming was only available to those who were paying a monthly subscription fee. However, as great as free mobile streaming is, you won't exactly be getting the same experience as the one you get when you stream on a PC.
Those who take advantage of Spotify free streaming on PC can listen to any song at any time, so long as it's part of Spotify's library. That won't be the case on mobile device,s as free streaming will come in the form of a shuffle feature. Users choose an artist or playlist and listen to the songs in a random order, so it's similar to Spotify's already existing Radio feature. It's also similar to a number of other streaming services, but instead of picking a genre or artist and hearing songs from similar groups, it sounds like you have an extra degree of control over what you're listening to.
Still, it isn't exactly the on-demand listening Spotify free users on other platforms are currently enjoying. Of course, ads will play while you're listening, and like many other services, you get a set number of skips each hour – in this case, six. To hear Spotify CEO Daniel Ek explain it, the company wanted move away from more traditional radio services with Spotify on smartphones. "We don't want to make another radio-type service. We want to make something that's really great â€" that really fits into people's lives."
Whether or not this will get more people listening remains to be seen. Ek seems to think it will, which in turns leads to more people paying the monthly subscription fee. Giving smartphone users a free shuffle feature is certainly a step in the right direction, but we think it's a safe assumption that mobile users will still be longing for the on-demand streaming their counterparts using PC are enjoying. It should be noted that this shuffle feature appears to only be on smartphones – with tablets, Spotify is rolling out free on-demand streaming, so smartphone users are the only ones with restrictions on what they listen to and when they listen to it. The new version of Spotify's mobile app is available now on the Google Play Store, so give it a download and see if you like it.