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Spotify readying free ad-supported mobile service

Spotify is set to introduce a free ad-supported version of its streaming service for mobile devices just in time for Christmas.

People familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that the Swedish company has signed licensing deals with three major global music companies to use their recordings on the service.

Spotify has reportedly been negotiating with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group for almost a year. As part of the agreement it will pay the three companies certain rates when users play songs using the free service and it also includes wording over the direct control users have over what they listen to.

The free mobile offering will let users play a handful of songs on demand with much of the content based on musical tastes and giving the impression of a custom radio service similar to the one Spotify launched for its free and paid subscribers last year.

Spotify has offered a free ad-supported service to both desktop and laptop computers since it was first launched and users can also choose to upgrade to the Premium version of the service for £9.99 per month that has no ads, cross-device listening, and offline playlists.

The catalogue of songs on Spotify numbers some 20 million and the major labels own a stake in the service. According to the Wall Street Journal the main aim of the label is to increase the company’s subscriber base as well as up the percent of free users that convert to the paid version, which currently stands at just 20 per cent.

It’s expected that Spotify will announce the ad-supported mobile service at a press event that has been set up for 11 December in New York City, according to TechCrunch.