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Spotify is about to get a lot better for everyone who doesn’t pay for it

By Mike Murphy

Spotify announced at an event in New York today, April 24, that it’s revamping its mobile app for users that don’t pay for its monthly subscription service.

The new version of the app has a pared-down design that’s meant to provide a far richer experience for free Spotify users. The company announced that it has over 90 million monthly active users on its free tier, and around 60% of the users that pay for the Premium service start out as free users. It’s the first overhaul of the company’s free mobile service since 2014, the company’s head of research, Gustav Söderström, said onstage.

Spotify’s head of product, Babar Zafar, said that the app will feature a data-saving mode for users who do not have unlimited or hefty mobile data plans. The app will show less content when users are on a slower connection, and will automatically store songs that you listen to a lot, meaning they won’t use any data to listen to the song, even when streaming on a data connection. In short: the more of your favorite songs you listen to repeatedly, the less data it will likely cost you.

Zafar added that Spotify will also offer a more personalized service to new free users from the moment they download the app. Now, when signing up for a Spotify account, users can opt to choose a few genres and artists that they like, which will inform the app’s algorithms of what sorts of music to serve them. As ever, these recommendations will improve as the user listens to more music.

Spotify is also expanding the number of on-demand playlists it makes available to new users, with 15 curated playlists (roughly 40 hours’ worth of music) that it will generate based off each user’s individual tastes.

This new experience will be launching globally on both Android and iOS devices soon. The business model for free users is unchanged: Spotify will still be inserting ads between every few songs, and will entice them to sign up for the Premium service, where users can download as many songs as they want, without having to hear any ads.