Apple Music and Spotify are in the middle of a battle for paid music subscribers and right now Apple Music is losing. Spotify boasts 70 million paid subscribers to Apple’s 38 million subscribers. Apple Music is growing faster though, and predictions are that Apple could overtake Spotify by the end of 2018. To hold Apple off, Spotify has decided to leverage something Apple can’t -- the free tier of its music service.
Spotify currently boasts 90 million free subscribers and that service is essentially a loss leader meant to get users liking the music and then buy a [commercial free] subscription. Spotify is improving that free offering to help lure in more users, and hopes it will eventually turn into paid subscribers. Some details of the revamp leaked a while back but the official event marking the updates
The new features are aimed at making the music experience more tailored to what the users want to hear now. Free users now have on-demand playlists with fifteen new playlists available. Users can pick and play any track on those curated lists without having to skip tracks or wait on shuffle to bring the track up. The on-demand lists are based on the user's tastes in music and may include playlists like RapCaviar, Viva Latino, Ultimate Indie, and Alternative R&B. Other personalized playlists will include Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and Daily Mix.
Playlists are available on the new Home screen and users can like or hide songs as they listen to tell Spotify what songs and artists they like. Those recommendations will improve the listening experience and denote preferences over time. Users can create their own playlists as well and get suggestions for more songs they might like that. Another important update is the Data Saver toggle that optimizes listening experience to use less mobile data while on the go. Spotify says that the new free experience will roll out to global markets on iOS and Android in the coming weeks.