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Spotify drops limits on free web listening

Good news, thrifty music lovers. You can now fire up Spotify on your desktop and jam out for as long as you want, for free, without having to worry about getting cut off after a certain amount of time.

The music-streaming giant has announced it has lifted time limits for all users, even if they don't pay for a premium membership. There have never been any time limits in the US, but in some other areas, Spotify restricted listening time to a few hours a month after a six-month unlimited grace period had passed.

"Now, if you haven't noticed, there's no more time limit if you are using Spotify for free," Spotify's Diego Planas Rego wrote in a blog post. "We have removed these caps completely across all platforms — you can listen to your favourite songs as many times as you like, for as long as you want."

You will, of course, still need to suffer through the ads if you're not a paying Spotify member.

The change comes after Spotify recently expanded free music listening to smartphones and tablets. Previously, non-paying Spotify users could only listen to Spotify Radio on the mobileapps. But now, they can discover new music, save, shuffle, and share.

Meanwhile, Spotify isn't the only music-streaming service upping its game. Pandora this week rolled out personalised radio station recommendations on iOS and Android mobile devices to help you discover more music.

The new Pandora station recommendations are based on your current listening preferences, station list, and what you have said you like and dislike through the thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons. They can be found on the "Create a Station" screen, and at the bottom of your station list.

If you're not down with Spotify, Pandora, or any of the other streaming music services out there, you'll soon have a new option. AT&T and headphone maker Beats are gearing up to launch a music streaming service of their own, geared towards budget-concious families.

The service, dubbed Beats Music, will offer AT&T customers unlimited downloads for up to five family members across 10 devices for $14.99 (around £10) a month. Beats Music will be available for download in app stores for Android, iOS, and Windows devices or from a PC beginning 21 January. That comes about 1.5 years after Beats acquired online music service MOG.