MUSIC STREAMING SERVICE Spotify announced this month that it will let users streammusic on their smartphones and tablets for the first time, even if they don’t pay for the Premium subscription. Company CEO and founder Daniel Ek revealed the news at a New York press conference, where he also disclosed that Spotify was the first streaming service to secure the back-catalogue of rock legends Led Zeppelin, making it the only choice for ageing metalheads. The new free service will be ad-supported, and will work on both Android and iOS.

Tablet users will get a very similar experience to the one provided by the Spotify desktop client, meaning they can play any song they want on demand with occasional adverts spliced between tracks. The smartphone app will focus on a radio-style shuffle system, which lets you pick an artist and will then stream a random mix of tracks rather than individual songs.

Spotify was built around playlists, so it’s no surprise that both smartphone and tablet users will be able to play through their existing playlists or those shared by others. You can also create new playlists on the move, as well as skip up to six tracks per hour, but you won’t be able to cache songs for offline playback unless you pay £9.99 for a Premium playback unless you pay £9.99 for a Premium subscription.

This will remove all adverts, play any song at any time on any of your devices, and let you cache songs to play when you don’t have an internet connection. The free service is available now in every country where Spotify operates, including the 20 new markets announced this month: Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Malta, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Slovakia and Uruguay.

“We’re giving people the best free music experience in the history of the smartphone and the tablet,” said Ek. “Whether you’re going to the gym, or having a party with friends, just sit back and let Spotify serve you great music for every moment of your life.” Spotify currently has around 26 million users, but only six million of those pay a monthly subscription.

The company revealed that it has paid over $1 billion (£610 million) in royalties to artists since 2009, but this translates to around $0.006 per play. This means that a track would need to be played over 150 times before a musician would earn a single dollar.