Music streaming service Spotify could launch a free, ad-supported mobile option as early as next week, with some limited à la carte music playback, according to a late Thursday report from the Wall Street Journal.
The report describes the as-yet-unnamed free service as a Pandora-like stream of content seeded by a particular artist or song. A limited number of individual songs could also be selected for on-demand playback, the Journal reports.
Six million of Spotify's 20 million users now pay $10 monthly for mobile access as part of a premium service tier.
The Journal reported that Spotify had acquired licenses from three major music rights holders—Sony, Vivendi, and Warner Music—for music to play on the new mobile service.
Mobile radio has become the de facto norm for free desktop services such as Pandora, MOG, and Slacker. But on mobile, the landscape varies much from service to service.
A free mobile option would certainly attract more users to Spotify. It would also position the company to move deeper into the highly lucrative mobile ad market.
The Sweden-based company has won millions of fans, many of whom breathlessly waited for the service to migrate to the States from Europe.
Spotify recently launched a new service that provides artists with analytics data to help them understand where, when, and how their music is being consumed.