Spotifys ad-supported tier has long been one of the services differentiators. Naturally, the models not nearly as feature-rich as its paid counterpart, though the companys removing one of those key distinctions as of this morning. In a press release, the company notes that free users will soon be able to stream music through Spotify Connect-sporting speakers. The newfound integration will work with hardware companies that switch to the new SDK. Heres your standard game-changer quote, this time from Senior Product Director Michael Ericsson: The release of our new eSDK will change the game for Spotifys Free users who want to enjoy music on their connected speakers. We look forward to supporting our partners over the coming months as they update existing speakers and bring new products to market. Most (around 104 million) of Spotifys 191 million subscribers are free users. The tier has been a tremendous part of the services global growth, and it continues to be a difference as Apple Music gains a foothold, particularly here in the U.S. Earlier this year, Spotify fleshed out its free offering, but Premium continues to offer some marked advantages. Along with getting rid of ads, it includes higher-quality streams and the ability to download offline tracks.
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.