Spotify released an update to its iOS(s aapl) apps on Wednesday, bringing free shuffle music streaming to mobile users without a monthly subscription. The app now lets you listen to playlists or a particular artist in shuffle mode on your iPhone or iPod touch, while the iPad version lets you play any song, any time, like the desktop app.
Unlike Pandora(s p) or iTunes Radio, Spotify’s iPhone/iPod touch app doesn’t shuffle all songs similar to a particular artist. Instead, you get access to all of the songs in that artist’s catalogue, which are played at random. You get up to six skips an hour, and there are ads, but I’ve been listening to Yo La Tengo on my iPhone for the past half hour and have only heard one.
The iPad app is a lot more similar to the experience you get from using Spotify’s desktop app or on the Web. You can pick any song or any album and listen to it on demand, albeit with ads.
Prior to this update, Spotify’s mobile apps were only available to users that paid $9.99 for monthly premium access. There are still benefits to subscribing. You can listen to whatever you want, whenever you want, without ads. And you can download music for offline listening. For the free mobile apps you always need to be connected. Still, this is a great app to download if you’re not into radio-style format on other apps.
Spotify is free to download from the App Store now.