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.
The ads are staying put. Spotify is giving non-paying users access to Connect audio streaming for supported speakers and devices -- a feature previously limited to Premium members. You'll still have to put up with ads though. In order to take advantage of the perk, hardware-makers will need to update to Spotify's latest SDK, allowing you to listen over WiFi instead of Bluetooth, according to The Verge. Spotify has gradually been cranking out benefits for free users, including on-demand listening in select playlists. It's also been testing the option to skip ads in its free app in Australia, with plans to roll out the function more widely. But Premium members still get exclusive access to song downloads, high-quality audio, and infinite track skips.