Spotify held an event in New York City today, unveiling a new version of its free music streaming tier that introduces a few new features for those users not paying for Spotify's $9.99/month main subscription plan.

The new free tier allows users to pick and choose which music they want to listen to on-demand, but only if the tracks appear within one of the 15 curated discovery playlists. These include Daily Mix, Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and more. Previously, free tier users were limited to shuffling songs at random.

spotify new free tier

According to TechCrunch, "that's around 750 tracks (>40 hours of music) that Spotify is serving up to users for on-demand listening." Additionally, users on the free service will get recommendations based on their own playlists, with machine learning taking into account songs in the playlists and even the name of the playlists. Spotify calls this "assisted playlisting."

CNET reporter Joan E. Solsman also mentioned that free users will have access to podcasts and vertical videos. Curated playlists, like RapCaviar, will also "stay the same across both tiers" of free and premium users.

There is also a new low-data mode that aims to cut data consumption "by up to 75 percent." In total, Spotify head of product development, Babar Zafar, said Spotify's free tier is "becoming much more like Spotify premium" with this update. As a note, the free tier will still have advertisements between songs.

In the past, Spotify didn’t allow offline listening for free, meaning that users were somewhat tethered to wifi if they needed to conserve data.

With the new data consumption system, which caches music ahead of time to stream via 3G, users can actually listen to much more music with wireless data. Alongside utilizing 3G, Spotify is also optimizing the streaming itself as well as the app (including imagery and other UI elements) to save data and power.

As Spotify expands its free service, Apple Music still only offers new subscribers a chance to try things out for three months at no cost. Afterwards, users must pay for a subscription or cancel their plan.

When asked whether the company is worried about losing paying subscribers to the newly expanded free tier, chief product officer Gustav Söderström said that it wasn't in Spotify's plans to make a free experience feel worse in order to get them to become paid subscribers. Still, over time the streaming service hopes a more robust free tier turns users into paid subscribers. "The more you play, the more you pay," Söderström said.

Tag: Spotify

Top Rated Comments

archer75 Avatar
43 months ago
I guess I'm not sure how they keep a free tier going. Don't artists want to get paid for their music? And what argument are they giving the record companies. I would think they'd be putting the kabash on anything free.
They are getting paid. Free tier has ads which pays for it. Or most of it.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
itsmilo Avatar
43 months ago
These playlists right there are one of many reasons I stick to Spotify. Their playlists selection are yet to be beat
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michael Scrip Avatar
43 months ago
They are getting paid. Free tier has ads which pays for it. Or most of it.
Ads don't pay for all of the free tier. Not even close. Ads don't pay for most of the free tier either.

Spotify's ad revenue is tiny compared to their premium subscriptions... so it's actually the paying customers who are subsidizing the free customers.

At least that's how I understood it when this topic has come up in the past. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

EDIT: I just found some numbers. Spotify's ad revenue us just 10% of their total revenue.

Basically... 10% of their revenue comes from ads... yet their free users represent 45% of their userbase.

So yes... it appears that Spotify's paying customers are funding their free customers.

Back to the topic. Artists get paid on both tiers. Almost all of the money Spotify pays goes to the artists, labels, publishers, etc.

Spotify pays so much... that there's no money left for themselves. That's why they have always posted a loss every year since their inception.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
43 months ago
"Optimizing the streaming" means using lower quality audio.

Now that Spotify is a public company, giving away the free option isn't likely to be able to continue forever. It will have to become more and more constrained in order to push people to the paid tier. They have a responsibility to turn a return for shareholders and losing money through the free offering isn't going to be acceptable.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
43 months ago
"Optimizing the streaming" means using lower quality audio.

Now that Spotify is a public company, giving away the free option isn't likely to be able to continue forever. It will have to become more and more constrained in order to push people to the paid tier. They have a responsibility to turn a return for shareholders and losing money through the free offering isn't going to be acceptable.
My understanding says neither of your statements is correct.

They say they're downloading content while you're on wifi before you actually listen to it. That's how it's optimized - they're just guessing which tracks you're most likely to pick to listen to, and downloading them when you're on wifi, before they're actually requested. Since you're limited to a set of their playlists and radios that only amount to ~40 hours of content if you're on the free tier, having a 75% reduction in downloads really just means they download 30 hours of content per month while you're on wifi.

Also, they've had the free tier for forever. They just expanded it a bit. Not enough for me to revert from paid to free, but probably enough to bring in several people who had been resisting so far. You'll try it on and off for a few months before they hook you and you become a paid user who's too lazy to cancel your subscription later on.

Free tier now includes full access to Discover Weekly, which is Spotify's Ace that Apple seems oblivious to.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zooby Avatar
43 months ago
[LIST=1]
* Apple Music is gonna overtake Spotify.
* People will get triggered.
* “I’m surprised”
* “Muh recommendations”
* “DAE iTunes bad”
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iphone 12 pro gold

Report: iPhone 14 Pro Models to Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis

Monday July 26, 2021 1:12 am PDT by
Next year's "iPhone 14" series is expected to feature high-end models with a new titanium alloy chassis design, claims a new investors report by JP Morgan Chase. According to the report, the use of titanium alloy will be one of the biggest changes to the case design in the 2022 iPhone series, and Foxconn will be the exclusive manufacturer of the titanium frames for the high-end models....
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
apple mac business page

Apple Shares 11 Reasons Why Business Users Should Choose Macs

Monday July 26, 2021 11:35 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple at Work website with a new section dedicated to the Mac, which offers up 11 reasons why "Mac means business." On the webpage, Apple highlights the M1 chip as the number one reason why business users should choose a Mac, offering up an M1 overview [PDF] that explains the benefits of the M1 chip. The information isn't new, but it does provide a look at all of...
imac with accessories

Larger Redesigned High-End iMac Rumored to Launch Next Year

Monday July 26, 2021 3:45 am PDT by
Apple's larger redesigned iMac will arrive sometime in 2022 rather than later this year, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." On Twitter, Dylandkt claimed that Apple's "high end iMac" is not expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2021 alongside Apple's "M1X Macs" – a reference to Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro models – because "Apple simply does not want their devices to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...
apple bitcoin hack

Is Apple Really Buying Bitcoin?

Monday July 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
A large number of websites and posts on social media are stoking rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin in the company's first move into cryptocurrency, but is there any validity to the claims? Many people are citing the fact that Apple was looking for a Business Development Manager with experience in alternative payments, including cryptocurrency, earlier this year as ...
tesla red orange bg feature

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Takes Shots at Apple During Earnings Call

Monday July 26, 2021 4:53 pm PDT by
During a Tesla earnings call that took place today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spent time sniping at Apple, reports CNBC. Musk criticized Apple's "walled garden" and made comments on the company's cobalt use. In a discussion about plans to allow Tesla competitors to use the Tesla electric vehicle charger network, Musk said that Tesla does not want to create a walled garden to "bludgeon" Tesla...
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Gurman: Face ID on the Mac Coming Within a 'Couple of Years'

Sunday July 25, 2021 7:09 am PDT by
Apple plans to bring Face ID to the Mac within the next "couple of years," respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter. In the newsletter, Gurman says that he believes Apple's ultimate goal is to shift all of its products to Face ID, including the lower-end iPhones such as the iPhone SE and the iPad Air, which feature Touch ID....