Windows Phone users have a love/hate relationship with Spotify, the wildly popular music streaming service. On the one hand, we're just happy to have an official Spotify app on the platform, since it provides another high-quality choice alongside rivals such as Beats, Pandora and Xbox Music. But on the other hand, Spotify has been slow to issue updates to the app. So while this week's major update, which adds support for the free version of Spotify, is quite welcome, it also comes well after the 2013 launch of this feature on Android and iOS.
Seriously, December 2013. But hey, what's past is past, right?
This week's update to Spotify for Windows Phone adds the following new features:
Free streaming. You no longer need a Spotify Premium subscription ($9.99 per month) to use the Windows Phone app. Now, you can use a Spotify Free or Spotify Unlimited ($4.99 per month) account and have an ad-supported experience. (The latter provides ad-free music on PCs only.)
All of the music. Listen to all the playlists you've created and playlists from the people you follow. Spotify lets you discover new music, save, shuffle and share.
Your favorite artists. You can now shuffle play an artist and listen to their entire catalogue.
More playlists. Spotify provides playlists for events like working out, dinner parties, different moods, and more.
More. Search results look better than ever before, Spotify says, and artist browsing is easier with better discovery of related artists.
So this is all very welcome. Late, but welcome.
What we still don't have on Windows Phone, however, is support for Spotify Connect, which lets you connect Spotify to a growing selection of third party speakers and control playback from your handset. This feature—which does require Spotify Premium—is of course available on Android and iOS.