Spotify free subscribers may soon be able to stream music on their phones as the service renegotiates its rights with music labels.
Sources talking to the Verge claim that Spotify is using its renewal talks to get better deals, with talks in progress with Warner, and Sony and Universal to follow.
The Verge says it's been told that "managers at Spotify are expected to ask for substantial price breaks", and that one condition the service is pushing for is that it can offer mobile streaming to free subscribers.
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There's no mention of whether this would include offline caching too, and we'd be surprised if Spotify lifted or extended the limits currently on its free tier, which include a maximum number of plays for each song and a limit on how many hours listening you can do per day.
Non-paying users can use Spotify to listen to songs they own on a mobile but can't stream any music from Spotify itself.
There's no guarantee that Spotify will get its way in these talks, with record labels traditionally loathe to give any money-making ground; likewise, it'll be interesting to see if subscription rates drop off if Spotify does offer free mobile access.
Spotify currently offers three tiers of access. There's free, which nabs you desktop streaming but with constant advertising interruptions and a monthly usage limit.
An Unlimited account gets you desktop listening with no ads but doesn't include the mobile access; you need a premium account for that. If the free or unlimited tiers nab mobile streaming, it's not really clear why you'd then shell out for a premium account.
We'll be keeping an eye on this one for sure.
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