Spotify improves free service – 90 million more customers is the aim

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Spotify is upping its free service to capture another 90 million users. These days it is get big or get out.

Spotify claims 157 million monthly active users overall. In the US Spotify it has a 41% market share, ahead of main rival Apple, which has been gaining ground and which recently surpassed 40 million paying customers.

It needs to regain its lead over Apple Music (40 million), Amazon Music (driven by Alexa), Google Play Music, and Pandora. Advertisers go with the strength.

Its new mobile app is a little more spartan but smarter. It will store locally songs that you play regularly.

Now when something is free, the product is you. Spotify knows that about 60% of free users end up as premium all-you-can-eat payers. And its revenue comes from the advertising inserted between songs.

The new app will allow users to chose genres, artists and what they like so Spotify’s curated algorithms can serve you more of what you like. It will also add 15 curated playlists. Its annoying shuffle mode still applies outside the curated playlists.

Spotify executives say Spotify is now both a record store and a radio station.

“Our customers always tell us that music discovery and listening is a personal experience, and we are enhancing the free experience with this in mind,” Babar Zafar, vice president of product development said.

“This is the beginning of an evolution for Spotify, and we will continue to make improvements that mirror our customers’ needs.

“This is not only about giving users a more customised free experience from the day they sign up but giving them more control over their listening experience so they can easily find and stream their favourites anytime, from anywhere.”

If you have not used Spotify – maybe it is time

Spotify (Australian website here ) offers both a free ad-supported MP3 service and a premium ad-free service.

The premium service is $11.99 a month and adds offline listening (great for saving data), higher quality audio, multiple devices (mobile. Tablet, speakers, TV, Car, Consoles). It has a discount for students and family packages.

With the plethora of smart speakers, it may be time to sign up, at least to the free app.