Photo: Courtesy of Spotify.
If you've been holding out on the leap to streaming audio, here's some good news. Today, Spotify announced that it will now offer free mobile versions of its music service, which previously required a sign-up and paid subscription in order for users to get the full (read: ad-free) experience. Only the desktop and Web versions were free to use without a paid plan.
The downside? The phone version will be shuffle only, so you won't be able to select specific tracks from a given album. Instead, you can shuffle through an artist's catalog, the playlists you've created, or the playlists of people you follow on Spotify. (And, yes, there will still be ads.)
The version for Android tablets and iPads, however, will more closely resemble the free desktop Web versions of Spotify, though they will also include, yes — ads. But, that should hardly be a deal breaker for anyone.
The idea is to get more people using Spotify for free, and then to convert as many of those users as possible to the paid service. Spotify has reported that about six million of its 24 million users have a subscription plan. In comparison, CNET notes that the company's main competitor, Pandora, has 72.4 million active listeners and more than 200 million registered users.