Spotify just unveiled a new free version of its mobile app -- here's your first look at all the changes

SpotifySpotify’s Vice President of Growth Babar Zafar demos Spotify’s new new ad supported mobile version at a news conference in New York.
  • Spotify on Tuesday unveiled a new free version of its mobile app.
  • The app now gives non-paying users more control over their music by letting them listen to playlists in any order.
  • Spotify’s smartphone app was previously limited to shuffle mode for those not paying for the Premium tier.

Spotify has redesigned its mobile app to make it better for non-paying users.

Spotify on Tuesday unveiled the new version of its free smartphone app. The redesigned Spotify app gives non-paying users features like new tools for creating playlists, a new low-data mode, and more control over their music. The free app is still ad-supported.

The new free Spotify app will now give users access to 15 personalised playlists created by Spotify, which is equivalent to 750 tracks or about 40 hours of music. Those playlists can be played in any order, rather than in shuffle mode.

It’s also easier for free users to create their own playlists, although those playlists can only be listened to in shuffle mode.

Spotify is also launching a new “low data mode,” which Spotify says will reduce data consumption by as much as 75%. There is still no offline mode for free users.

Users will notice that the new free app has different buttons along the bottom as well. Now, the four buttons are Home, Search, Your Library, and Premium. There will be no separate Browse and Radio tabs anymore, but those features will still be incorporated in the free app.

Spotify new free appAvery Hartmans/Business Insider

Spotify hopes that the new free app will remove some of the “friction” users may have felt in the past.

“We’re trying to make sure that our recommendations and the playlists that we offer take away a lot of the work that you might have had to do before,” Babar Zafar, Spotify’s vice president of growth, told Business Insider after an event to unveil the new free app. “You can enjoy music independent of how knowledgeable you are, or do you have the right friends who can recommend you music.”

Zafar said that Spotify chose to add more features to the free tier because it helps grow the premium tier – users join for free, begin to discover new artists, and eventually switch to Spotify Premium in order to access offline mode, more control over their playlists and song selection, and zero ads.

“The motivation to improve the free product right now is twofold: It’s us understanding the needs of our users better and reacting to that, and also making sure that freemium is strong and working for us,” Zafar said.

Spotify says there are 90 million people using the service’s free tier right now, and that 60% of people who become Premium users started out on the free tier.

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