Spotify's free version may soon include (some) play on demand

 digitaltrends.com  4/18/2018 2:07:45 PM  2  Lulu Chang

If you’re one of the 80 million or so folks who aren’t paying for Spotify but are still reaping its benefits, there’s some big news coming your way. In one week, the music streaming giant is slated to unveil a series of changes to its free music service, according to a Bloomberg report. This will mark the first big product announcement since Spotify went public earlier in April, and now, we may be seeing what the new interface will look like.

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As initially spotted by The Verge, it would appear that the changes include the ability to play songs on demand in certain playlists, which makes the freemium version of the service look and act a whole lot more like the paid version. Currently, if you’re on the free level of Spotify, you can only play playlists in shuffle mode. It also seems as though the Search page has changed, and now features prompts like “Workout” and “Mood,” which allows you to check out previews of playlists.

The Browse button is also nowhere to be found on the bottom navigation strip, and instead, it seems that option has been included in Search. The Radio button is also no more, and may have been entirely axed from the Spotify UI. And of course, there’s a Premium button that prompts folks to upgrade to the paid version of the app (though with these changes, perhaps you won’t even need to).

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The changes, all in all, should serve as a boon to users — the idea is to make the music platform easier to use, particularly for folks on mobile devices. Spotify recently sent out an invitation for its unveiling event, which will feature presentations from chief research and development officer Gustav Soderstrom, vice president of product development Babar Zafar, and global head of creator services Troy Carter. The invitation also confirms that the product update will focus specifically on the mobile app.

We also know that Spotify has been trying out voice control with certain iOS accounts, which makes it easier for listeners to make their way around the app. This feature, however, doesn’t appear in these early screenshots. Whatever the updates are, however, Spotify will certainly have to do something to impress its users, particularly as competitors continue to gain ground on the company.

Apple Music, for example, recently announced that it had hit 36 million paid subscribers. While that’s still significantly less than Spotify’s 71 million paid subscribers (as of the end of 2017), Apple’s rate of growth seems to be outpacing that of its competitors. As we noted previously, Apple is growing at about 5 percent per month, whereas Spotify has slowed to 2 percent.

Spotify also faces a challenge in determining how to monetize its many, many nonpaying users. As it stands, fewer than half of its listeners are actually forking over the $10 a month it costs to listen to Spotify without ads. The rest of us are fine with our music being interrupted every once in a while with a message from a sponsor.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated as more details emerge.

Updated on April 18: Added more information and screenshots about the update. 

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