Spotify just unveiled a new free version of its mobile app, giving non-paying users more control over their music by letting them listen to playlists in any order. Spotify’s smartphone app was previously limited to shuffle mode for those not paying for the Premium tier.
The new free Spotify app will now give users access to 15 personalized playlists created by Spotify, which is equivalent to 750 tracks or about 40 hours of music. Those playlists can be played in any order. The expanded offering is being rolled out ahead of YouTube’s new subscription music product. The company already operates the largest paid music service in the world and is expanding to reach a target of 1 billion users.
Out of the 157 million users of Spotify’s music service, about 71 million of them pay the monthly subscription fee. Spotify is hoping to use this overhaul of its service to not only engage more users overall but convert them to fee-paying subscribers eventually.
Spotify hopes that the new free app will remove some of the so-called ‘friction’ users may have felt in the past. Spotify’s vice president of growth, Babar Zafar told Business Insider the following – “We’re trying to make sure that our recommendations and the playlists that we offer take away a lot of the work that you might have had to do before… You can enjoy music independent of how knowledgeable you are, or do you have the right friends who can recommend you music.”
The company chose to add more features to the free tier because their numbers show that it helps grow the premium tier. Users usually join for free, begin to discover new artists, and eventually switch to Spotify Premium in order to access offline mode, more control over their playlists and song selection, and zero ads. “The motivation to improve the free product right now is twofold: It’s us understanding the needs of our users better and reacting to that, and also making sure that freemium is strong and working for us”, Zafar said.
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