Spotify’s tablet app is finally catching up to its desktop counterpart. At an event in New York City today, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek confirmed that iOS and Android tablet owners will now be able to listen to tracks through the streaming music service, on demand, free of charge.
The update effectively replicates Spotify’s desktop experience — so yes, listening for free still forces you to slog through the occasional advertisement. You’ll still need a $10/month Spotify Premium account to get rid of ads and download songs for offline usage too. But considering that the tablet app would only let free users access a simple radio mode before, today’s update is certainly a step up in functionality.
Outside of tablets, Spotify has added a free streaming option to its iOS and Android smartphone offerings as well. That app is much more limited than the tablet one, as it only lets you listen to particular playlists or artists in a shuffle mode, and it too is ad-supported. Finally, Ek also confirmed that Spotify now holds Led Zeppelin’s catalog of albums, so classic rock fans might have more of an incentive to give the service a shot.
Spotify still appears to be the leading streaming music service in terms of subscribers (if you don’t count Pandora, which has reeled in many more users but runs a different, Internet radio-style model), but its future is far from secure. Besides the alarming fact that it’s never turned much of a profit quarter to quarter, the company has also come under fire from various musicians who argue that they are improperly compensated for their work. Opening up its mobile offerings to more users now makes sense given the shifting nature of the PC market, but it remains to be seen how big of a boon these upgrades will be in the long run.