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Spotify Connect for speakers opens to free users via a new SDK

Spotify is opening up its streaming platform to more free users via Spotify Connect, the companys Wi-Fi-enabled service that allows you to control music throughout your house from the Spotify app on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. Spotify Connect launched back in 2013, and it was a godsend for those who didnt want to be tethered to the inherent limitations of Bluetooth. With Spotify Connect, users can control music that is being played on compatible Wi-Fi devices, such as wireless speakers, smart TVs, soundbars, and smart speakers. This also helps democratize party playlists, as anyone who is connected to the same Wi-Fi network with their phone or tablet can assume control of the tunes. Spotify ConnectThe one downside to Spotify Connect on speakers so far is that it has been restricted to Premium subscribers, thought it has been available to free users on TVs for a while. Moving forward, however, Spotify revealed its launching a software development kit (SDK), called eSDK 3, that gives speaker manufacturers the opportunity to offer Spotifys free users access to Spotify Connect. Of course, this will rely on manufacturers embracing the new SDK, but there is every reason to believe that most hardware makers will be willing to cater to Spotifys legion of free users, given that it could incentivize more people to buy their hardware. The release of our new eSDK will change the game for Spotifys free users who want to enjoy music on their connected speakers, said Spotify senior product director Mikael Ericsson. We look forward to supporting our partners over the coming months as they update existing speakers and bring new products to market. Spotifys recent Q3 earnings revealed that while its paid user base growth is slowing, it is still growing and is edging ever closer to the magic 50 percent mark, a metric Spotify is keen to improve. However, the fact remains that 55 percent of Spotify accounts currently belong to people who do not pay. On the surface, it would seem that opening Spotify Connect to those users gives them one less reason to upgrade, but it could actually have the opposite effect — it may encourage them to use Spotify more often and thus realize the benefits offered by a premium subscription. One of those benefits is being able to play any song on-demand via a mobile phone, rather than shuffling playlists, which is quite a big benefit. In short, opening Spotify Connect to more free users gives the company a little more leverage as it seeks to convince them to upgrade their accounts to premium.

Spotify Connect speakers set free, no longer require premium subscriptions

Spotify says its now letting free-tier subscribers stream music over Spotify Connect-enabled speakers. In order to benefit from the change, hardware manufacturers will need to update to Spotifys latest SDK, letting you enjoy the ad-supported service over a high-quality Wi-Fi connection instead of Bluetooth. Spotifys free tier still has its limitations compared to Spotify Premium, but back in April a redesigned app gave non-paying subscribers a lot more freedom in what they can listen to. Instead of being forced to shuffle tracks across the entire catalog, Spotify gave non-paying users 15 auto-generated playlists which they could freely choose to play songs from, although they still have to listen to ads after every few tracks. There are still plenty of limitations to the service if you opt not to pay. Spotify free subscribers cant download songs, can only skip a limited number of tracks, and are confined to lower-quality audio. Still, if it was your hatred of Bluetooth that kept you paying for Premium, now might be the time to think about cancelling your subscription.