MUSIC STREAMING SERVICE Spotify has announced a major overhaul of its free service that will let users listen to more music on-demand.
Spotify currently offers two tiers; an ad-free option that costs £9.99 per month and lets you listen to all of the songs in its library, create playlists and download music to listen to offline; and a free ad-supported version that only lets you listen to shuffled songs.
At an event in New York on Tuesday, where Spotify was widely-expected to show off an in-car music controller, the firm unveiled the first major overhaul of the latter that will allow those who don't pay for the service to listen to any song on one of 15 personalised playlists, which works out at about 750 tracks or 40 hours of music.
Users will be able to listen to those songs whenever they want, and however many times they want, and Spotify says that the playlists will be based on users' personal tastes. As well as using machine learning to deliver personalised recommendations to users, Spotify will now ask free users to choose their favourite artists when they open up the app.
In addition, Spotify on Tuesday introduced a new "low-data mode" which the firm claims will reduce data consumption by 75 per cent.
Spotify's free-tier overhaul comes as music streaming overtakes physical sales for the first time. According to industry trade group IFPI, streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music generated $7.1bn (£5bn) in 2017, more than sales of CDs and vinyl.
"Streaming now accounts for 38.4 per cent of total recorded music revenue and its growth has more than offset a 5.4 per cent decline in physical revenue and a 20.5 per cent decline in download revenue, the IFPI said.
What's more, the number of people subscribing to a streaming service topped 176 million in 2017, up from 112 million a year before. µ
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