Spotify reportedly planning free mobile service, go toe-to-toe with iTunes Radio

Spotify may be one of the world's leading music subscription services, but currently only offers a free, ad-supported model to folks listening along on the desktop. According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, that might be about to change:

Spotify AB is planning a free, ad-supported version of its streaming-music service on mobile devices, according to people familiar with the matter, after previously making mobile users pay a monthly fee.

The new ad-supported offering will allow nonpaying mobile users to play a limited number of songs on demand, but will mostly serve up music based on the user's input

Spotify Premium customers already get all the music they can handle through the service's various mobile applications, but the introduction of a free, ad-supported mobile model would put it directly up against Apple and iTunes Radio. As with Spotify, Apple offers a paid, ad-free model on top of the free service, and arguably a slightly stronger music catalog to back it up. But, as mobile becomes ever more important, Spotify currently freezes out its users that don't pay for the top tier subscription plan.

The deal to secure the new addition to the mobile offering is reported to have been in the works for about a year, following negotiations with Sony, Universal and Warner, the big three music labels. Press have been invited to an event in New York next week, but with little to indicate what may be on the cards.

So, if Spotify brought ad-supported, free streaming to your iPhone or iPad, would you be more or less likely to give it the nod over iTunes Radio?

Source: Wall Street Journal

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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There are 12 comments. Add yours.

ralphtweety says:

Competition, what a beautiful thing.

Joebin says:

I agree. The free version of Spotify for the desktop is working well for me, and I will definitely give the iOS version a try once it's released. I do use iTunes Radio and iTunes Match on my iPhone, but at this point Pandora still has the edge in knowing what I like. iTunes Radio will keep growing its customer base just because it comes with every new iOS device and there are a ton of customers who will never consider an alternative like Pandora or Spotify just because iTunes Radio works immediately out of the box. I don't think you need to log in with an Apple ID right? I'd look forward to what Apple will do with the updates.

Munale says:

this seems similar to what rdio does. i use it alot on the go but its itunes radio all the way when im at home

WhoDatDaddy says:

I would love if they got this done. I really enjoy Spotify. I think I've used iTunes radio 2x. Not impressed.

allthingspixel says:

iTunes Radio was too late to the game for me. I've gotten too familiar with and comfortable using Spotify on my laptop to switch to iTunes. I tried using iTunes Radio once and gave up a minute or so into it.
I'd welcome the new free mobile version of Spotify but would need to see exactly how how well it selected music based on my usage. If that's not done well I wouldn't use it.

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zdn1042 says:

I don't use music streaming services that much because I still prefer to get my music the not-so old fashion way (via iTunes) and maybe because of the unreliable data connection in my area, but I'd be willing to give this one a try with more of an open mind if it goes free. I've heard a lot of good things about Spotify and it might be time to try other options.

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Daniela Gefke says:


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ScottSouder says:

This may get me to switch back to spotify since it fixes the main reason I quit spotify: their lack of a decent mobile experience.

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MsLoveTech says:

Well I already have Spotify premium I don't really listen to iTunes radio Beacuse they play the same song over

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Team George says:

Spotify premium is worth paying the extra cash for. I am not sure I could go back. It has everything I want.

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Amy wineBerry says:

I've been a devout user of Rdio. But Spotify keeps doing little things that are pulling me back into its direction.

asuperstarr says:

It's amazing how competition makes things better for the consumer. I'm really enjoying iTunes Radio.

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