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
39 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
39 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
39 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
39 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
39 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
39 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

flat imac 3d 3 teal

Reliable Leaker Hints Redesigned Colorful iMac to Debut at 'Spring Loaded' Event

Saturday April 17, 2021 4:43 am PDT by
Reliable leaker known as l0vetodream has hinted that Apple may debut its rumored redesigned and colorful iMac at its "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20. In a tweet, the leaker posted an image of Apple's logo used for marketing the upcoming event and an image of the retro rainbow Apple logo alongside the colorful lineup of G3 iMacs. Apple leaker Jon Prosser previously reported that...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...
important battery message iphone 11

Some iPhone 11 Users Seeing Increased Battery Health Percentages After iOS 14.5 Recalibration Process

Friday April 16, 2021 6:32 am PDT by
In the sixth beta of iOS 14.5, Apple introduced a recalibration process for the battery health reporting system on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to address inaccurate battery health estimates for some users. Apple said this process might take a few weeks to be completed, and now that two weeks have passed since the sixth beta of iOS 14.5 was released, some users are...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
Top Stories 57 Feature

Top Stories: Apple Event Next Tuesday, Mini-LED iPad Pro, iPhone Rumors

Saturday April 17, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
It feels like we've been waiting forever for new Apple products, but the wait is almost over as Apple has announced a media event for next Tuesday, so make sure to tune into MacRumors for full coverage of everything Apple announces. While that was the big news this week, we also got some new details on Apple's iPhone plans for 2022 and 2023 courtesy of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and we also saw...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Anker's MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack

Thursday April 15, 2021 9:39 am PDT by
Anker, a company known for its range of accessories designed for Apple products, recently came out with one of the first MagSafe-compatible battery packs, so we thought we'd check it out to see how it compares to a standard battery pack. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, Anker's power bank looks like a typical battery pack, but it has magnets built in...
iphone 13 pro max cads eap

iPhone 13 Series CAD Leaks Reveal Larger Camera Dimensions

Friday April 16, 2021 1:53 am PDT by
Information and alleged CADs of the upcoming iPhone 13 series, shared in a video from EverythingApplePro, indicates that Apple plans to make this year's iPhone camera module significantly bigger, likely to make way for larger sensors and sensor-shift stabilization. According to the CADs shared in the video, the iPhone 13 mini, Pro, and Pro Max camera module will all be a "perfect square."...
jaguar car homekit

User Adds Car to HomeKit for In-App Controls and Automations, Showing Future Potential

Thursday April 15, 2021 6:17 am PDT by
Blogger Siobhán Ellis has successfully integrated their electric car into their Apple HomeKit setup, adding in-app toggles for door locking, climate control, and more. The setup, which is outlined in detail on the blog Practical HomeKit, allows multiple elements of a Jaguar I-Pace electric vehicle to be monitored, controlled, and automated using the Home app. Using a HomeBridge plugin for ...
siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...