Spotify is now free on Android tablets and iPad, but phones must shuffle

spotify free moble option connect iphone pic edit

Spotify has finally convinced record labels to let it become a free service on mobile devices, confirming a WSJ rumor. While Spotify fans can currently enjoy free music streaming on desktop and laptop computers, until now, mobile users could only access its catalog of around 20 million tracks by handing over $10 a month. There is a free radio option offered to US-based mobile users, but as its name suggests, you have little to no choice over which tracks are played. Now you’ll have a little more.

Here’s how it works: If you’re on an Android tablet or an iPad you can now get the full Spotify experience for free, with audio ads. If you want to listen on an iPhone or Android phone, things get more complicated. You can listen to playlists, but only on shuffle. This is because the major music recording companies aren’t ready to give you that much convenience. But for Spotify’s Founder and CEO, Daniel Ek, it’s a win.

“We’re the first and only service to obtain licensing rights to do this,” Ek said at a press conference earlier today.

The service is also limited so that you still have a reason to pay for a Spotify subscription. One of the goals of the free service is to eventually convert users to ad-free subscription plans as Spotify seeks to improve on its current 20 percent switch rate of users coming from the free desktop/laptop service to a paid plan. In any case, Spotify and the music labels will be able to share revenue from ads, so it’s a win-win situation for all involved.

Rival services following suit

In October, rival service Rdio relaunched its ‘Stations’ service to offer mobile users in the US, Canada, and Australia free streaming music, notably ad free. Rdio also hopes that users who enjoy the free service will be tempted to hand over a few bucks each month for a more feature-rich experience.

Pandora and Apple’s recently launched iTunes Radio also offer free, ad-supported options, though they are now a lot more limited than Spotify, at least on tablets.

Sweden-based Spotify currently has around 6 million paying subscribers and a global active user base of some 20 million. You can download it on the iOS App Store and Google Play. We’re looking into whether Windows Phone users will enjoy these new features.

Finally, if you’ve read this far, we’ll give you one more good piece of news. Led Zeppelin’s catalogue is now available on Spotify.

Originally published as a rumor by Trevor Mogg on Dec. 5. Rewritten by Jeff on Dec. 11

Movies & TV

You can ditch cable but still get your 'SportsCenter' fix with ESPN+

ESPN's streaming service, ESPN+, is finally here. Despite appearances, ESPN+ isn't a replacement for your ESPN cable channels, and it differs from other streaming apps in a few key ways.
Home Theater

Don't need sports or local channels? Philo can save you some dough

Philo is a super-affordable live TV streaming service, with an impressive channel list and feature set. With more hardware support and greatly improved TV Everywhere features, the service is now even easier to recommend.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Music

Jam out in style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.
Wearables

A strap for everyone: The best Apple Watch bands you can buy right now

If you have an Apple Watch, you know how easy it is to take off the strap it came with, so why not buy yourself another one? Here we've gathered the best Apple Watch bands we've seen so far and there's something for everyone.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Mobile

Which new iPhone is the best? iPhone XS vs. iPhone XS Max vs. iPhone XR

Apple has three new iPhone models to choose from this year, making the choice a little harder than usual. What's the difference between the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR, and which is best?
Mobile

Google may charge up to $40 per Android device for app suite following EU ruling

Google announced that it will be charging Android device manufacturers in Europe a licensing fee to use its apps and services. The announcement is part of an effort to comply with new European Commission regulations.
Mobile

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from XS on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.
Mobile

How to sell your old Google Pixel or Pixel 2 for the most money

So, it's time for a expensive new smartphone, and you'd like to partially fund the purchase by selling your old Google Pixel. Find all the information you need to get as much money as possible for your Pixel or Pixel 2 here in our guide.
Mobile

The OnePlus 6T is coming a day earlier, event moved to October 29

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Sprint now lets you add Hulu's Live TV service to your unlimited plan

Sprint recently introduced three new data plans to its roster -- Unlimited Basic , Unlimited Plus, and Unlimited Premium. Here, we break down your options to help you decide which one is best for you and your family.
Photography

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…