The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Spotify will launch it’s new free streaming service next week. Until now, the site’s 24 million users were able to access a catalog of 20 million songs for free on desktop computers, but had to pay $10 a month to access their favorite songs on mobile devices or tablets. Under the new model, all users would have access to their Spotify playlists on mobile devices but the tracks will be shuffled and played back with ads interspersed among the songs. Users who pay the monthly subscription fee will still be able to access their playlists in full, as well as download them onto the devices for listening when they’re not connected to the internet.
The Swedish company has come under fire from artists like Thom Yorke of Radiohead for low royalty payments, a practice that Yorke claims hurts smaller artists. The company recently responded with a lengthy explanation of it’s business model, claiming that it pays out nearly 70 percent of it’s total revenue to rights holders, a sum that reached $500 million in 2013.