UPDATE: Spotify launched its free Spotify mobile app today on iOS and Android, changing from the old service called Spotify Premium. Mobile service was only available for a price in the past, now you have the option to go free if you like, as long as you can deal with the ads.
What's missing from the Spotify mobile app is the ability to get high quality sound and music downloads, for that you'll need to stick to the premium service.
Spotify also launched in 55 new countries today, see the full list below. It will add 24 million active users, and at least 6 million paying Spotify subscribers.
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan
- Playlists: your own and people you follow are available on mobile
- Artist Radio: improvements to let you listen to a dedicated station of just one artists, not artists that sound similar
- Discover playlists based on mood, genre, or of the moment
The service was originally tipped last week in a report in the WSJ. Spotify had been using a strategy that would let users try the streaming music service for free for 6 months, after which they would have to upgrade to one of their pay services. Now they'll focus on getting more users around the free model, which will run ads.
The critical difference here is that on desktop and laptop computers, there's always been a free, ad-supported service as well as the ad-free premium plan, while mobile always required users to pay. Now mobile users can opt for the free versions.
Spotify royalties have always been controversial, with a large chunk of the music community wanting higher payouts. The basic breakdown was that royalties were different for pay and free streams, and as such, Spotify will renegotiate the deals with the major recording deals.
"The Sweden-based music company has reached licensing deals with all three of the global music companies to use their recordings on the new service, these people added," reads the WSJ report, adding "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, much like custom radio services such as Pandora Media., these people said."