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Spotify music: streaming service improves its free tier

Great news for those who don’t like paying for streaming music services: Spotify just announced a bunch of changes to its mobile app that will greatly enhance the experience for anyone on its free tier.

Of course, free members will still have to listen to occasional audio ads, but some of the other limitations have been softened. Instead of a shuffle-only system for playlists, free users now have full on-demand access to more than a dozen of Spotify’s best playlists, including the popular “Discover Weekly” and “Daily Mix” playlists that are algorithmically-generated based on the user’s listening tastes.

Free users will now get recommendations for similar tracks based on their custom-made playlists, though unlike the playlists mentioned above, these will still be set to shuffle-only.

Spotify has also unveiled a new “low data mode” to save on data usage when streaming music on a mobile connection. It will lower consumption by up to 75%, meaning users should be able to eke more listening time out of their limited data plans. This is particularly useful for free users who don’t have access to Spotify’s offline listening features.

A premium subscription to Spotify removes all limitations and adverts for $10/£10 a month. That’s the same price as Apple Music, and with roughly the same features and music catalog the choice between those two services is really down to individual preference. Apple Music, however, doesn’t have a free tier at all – so Spotify improving its offerings may even tempt some paying Apple Music users over to the free side.