The Spotify app for mobile devices is free, but to get any usability from it beyond the trial period it requires the paying of a monthly subscription fee. While those using the desktop app can make do with adverts and playback limitations, there is no other option for mobile users besides paying the aforementioned fee. However, one feature of the Spotify app has been made available to U.S. users completely free, with the radio function now available to both iOS and Android users.
Spotify launched the free and unlimited radio feature for iOS in June, and now the Android app has been updated to also offer the same functionality. Anyone in the U.S. who downloads the latest version of the Spotify app for Android will be able to stream radio stations for free and without limitations. Spotify radio works by building a station around a song, artist, or playlist chosen by the user. The app will choose other songs based on that selection, creating a radio station that should appeal to each individual listener.
Users can give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to tracks they like or dislike, or can add them to playlists for listening to later. As playlists sync across all devices, adding a track on the mobile app means it will show up the next time the desktop app is accessed. Listening to the radio feature for free does mean putting up with the occasional advert, but that's the only asking price.
The Spotify mobile app now competes with the long-standing Pandora, but with one clear advantage: if a user decides they want to gain access to the full app they can pay the US$9.99 asking price for Spotify Premium. This is clearly the strategy at play here, with Spotify hoping to get people hooked on the service with one feature offered completely for free. Indeed, the number of downloads and reviews of the iOS app increased substantially after the radio feature was launched on that platform just over a month ago. Spotify must be hoping for a similar boost in numbers on Android.