Spotify launches a new free version that lets users choose songs from specific playlists

Daniel Ek, chief executive officer and co-founder of Spotify AB

Akio Kon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Daniel Ek, chief executive officer and co-founder of Spotify AB

Spotify is launching a new free service that lets users pick and choose songs off of selected playlists.

The company announced the update to its free service on Tuesday at an event in New York City.

New features include allowing people to choose which songs they want to listen to off of 15 selected playlists. Currently free listeners don’t have the ability to skip songs. The new service also lets users like or hide certain artists, which will help Spotify’s algorithms find the right artists and songs to feature.

The new free experience will also have the ability to cache songs — which reduces the amount of data needed for streaming — based on listening habits. The company projects that feature — plus other data-saving measures on its “data saver” option — could save up to 75 percent of mobile data.

The new service is expected to roll out globally over the next few weeks. The last time the free experience was updated was in 2014.

It also hinted it was working on a voice product that would be launched at a later date.

“R&D is 40 percent of Spotify so we should be up to something, and voice is a huge area,” said Gustav Soderstrom, Spotify chief research and development officer.

Spotify went public on April 3 via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The company said it has more than 157 million active monthly users, and 71 million paid subscribers.

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