Spotify brings free service to tablets, but iOS and Android smartphone users get Shuffled

Streaming music service Spotify said it will offer a free streaming product on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. However, there are a few catches.

Spotify is expanding its services available to smartphone and tablet users.

The tablet app works just like the desktop version, according to CNET, giving users access to specific select tracks. However, the new free smartphone apps offer only a Shuffle service that lets users pick an artist or playlist and hear a stream of shuffled tracks. According to CNET, users can't pick the exact song they want to play right away, and will instead have to shuffle through their playlists.

Previously, mobile users had to pay $9.99 per month to access the full slate of Spotify's services.

Thus, the service is similar to existing Internet radio services like Pandora and iTunes Radio--although Spotify disputes that categorization.

"We don't want to make another radio type service," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said at an event in New York City on Wednesday, according to The Verge. "We want to make something that's really great--that really fits into people's lives," Ek said.

"This is the way the next generation will build their music library," Ek said, according to CNET. "It's not about purchasing one song or other. It's about adding it to a collection."

Spotify has 6 million paying subscribers and 20 million active users around the world. A lack of free mobile apps was seen as a factor that was inhibiting the company's growth.

Additionally, Spotify announced that Led Zeppelin's music is now available on its service. According to the New York Times, Led Zeppelin's representatives have been in negotiations with various streaming music services since at least January, and Spotify is believed to have beaten smaller competitors like Rdio and Rhapsody for the deal.

Meanwhile, Google-owned YouTube was planning to introduce a Spotify-like service before the end of the year, Billboard reported in October, but AllThingsD recently reported that timeframe has apparently been pushed back. YouTube's product, if and when it launches, will join a crowded field of subscription music services that includes Spotify, iTunes Radio, Pandora, Rhapsody, Rdio and Google's own All Access service for Google Play.

For more:
- see these two releases from Spotify
- see this The Verge article
- see this CNET article
- see this TechCrunch article
- see this separate The Verge article
- see this NYT article

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