In a move that positions it to sharpen its competitive edge with the likes of Pandora and iTunes Radio, on Wednesday Spotify officially expanded its free music streaming service to Apple and Android mobile users.
Up to now, the free, ad-based version of Spotify was only available on desktop and laptop computers, and users who wished to listen to music on their mobile devices had to be paid subscribers. Listeners will still have to pay $10 a month to play music offline on their iPhones, iPads and Androids, but they can use their wi-fi or 3G connection to stream songs for free, as long as they are willing to listen to a few commercials.
This move is likely more than just an attempt to match the services currently offered by iTunes Radio and Pandora. While the Sweden-based Spotify is regarded as the world’s most popular streaming service, it has still not turned a profit. Making its free service available at the mobile level increases its potential for grabbing new users, some of whom will hopefully become paid subscribers.
In further hopes of broadening its base of listeners, Spotify also announced this week the expansion of its service to 20 more countries, making for a total of 55.