Technology

Spotify plans free mobile version of its service

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MUMBAI: Spotify AB is planning a free, ad-supported version of its streaming-music service on mobile devices, according to reports doing rounds, after previously making mobile users pay a monthly fee.

The Sweden-based music company has reached licensing deals with all three of the global music companies to use its recordings on the new service. Until now, a free version of Spotify was available only on desktop and laptop computers.

Spotify, which has six million paying subscribers and 20 million active users world-wide, has negotiated with three major record companies - Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment, Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group and Access Industries' Warner Music Group - over the rates it will pay them to play songs on the free mobile service, and over how much direct control users have over what they listen to, reports claimed.

The new ad-supported offering will allow nonpaying mobile users to play a limited number of songs on demand, but will mostly serve up music based on the user's input, much like custom radio services such as Pandora Media.

Spotify launched its own custom radio feature last year. Spotify's premium service, which costs $10 a month, delivers unlimited, on-demand music from its 20 million-song catalog on any device. Until now, free users have been able to play music on demand, with ads, on their computers - but they can't use the service from their mobile phones or tablets, unless they enter their credit-card information to sign up for the 30-day premium-service trial.

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