by Graham Pierrepoint
While music streaming service Spotify has plenty of paying subscribers who are willing to shell out for access to millions of songs and albums on the platform’s gargantuan servers, their free contingent is also fairly strong – and while ‘free streaming’ has offered some contention for certain artists who have jumped ship elsewhere (such as Taylor Swift, who made the move to Apple Music – a subscription-only service), it is still eaten up by thousands upon thousands of music fans all over the globe. So much, it seems, that Spotify are now willing to let free users access specific songs, providing they are within certain playlists, without having to run through ‘shuffle’ mode. The allure of shuffle on the free platform is, of course, that it works just like radio – you never know what’s coming next – but one of the major draws of Spotify has always resided in its ability to provide on-demand music from millions of sources, artists and albums – available for you to listen to when you like.
The move to adjust the free model will allow users without a subscription to pick specific songs in 15 different, personalised playlists – which works out at about 750 popular songs that you will be able to pick out and listen to specifically without the need to shuffle or to pay for the privilege. This means that Spotify is effectively opening its doors to free customers to allow them to sample the on-demand facet of their platform. Commercials will remain, however, if you want to listen to a certain song on repeat – providing it’s in a playlist that’s eligible – you’ll be able to do so without paying a penny.
Watch: ▶ Spotify Unveils New Free Version For Mobile
Music streaming continues to dominate what has been a fascinating evolution in the way we consume and collection our favourite albums and tracks. Physical music may no longer be considered mainstream, but vinyl is continuing to see a resurgence among people looking to capture a certain nostalgic sound. Rumors that Apple may be considering retiring their iTunes service, where you can buy songs and albums outright (among other media such as movies and audiobooks), is perhaps further indication that we are moving once more towards a newer model of mainstream music enjoyment. Are the days of poring over a massive CD collection and picking out a few discs to enjoy behind us? Not unless you want them to be – but streaming has become the ultimate in audio – and video – convenience bar none.