With Apple Music breathing hard on its neck, Spotify today unveiled a refreshed look for its mobile apps on Android and iOS, as well as more listening options for users on the free tier. They'll now be able to pick and choose the order of their songs, albeit while drawing from a limited selection.

That selection comes in the form of 15 playlists that Spotify's algorithms will curate and personalize for every listener on the free tier, including the Discover Weekly and Daily Mix playlists, as well as playlists for specific genres. These will be based on users' previous listening history, and artists they've indicated they're interested in.

So rather than accepting the shuffled mix of music previously served up, users who are on the free tier and playing tunes on a mobile phone can now create their own on-demand playlists, as long as they stick to the selection picked by Spotify. Skipping restrictions on mobile are also being lifted.

At the same time Spotify is also introducing a new Data Saver feature, which comes in the form of a toggle switch inside the app. Switch it on, and the app reduces streaming and downloading quality to use less mobile data away from Wi-Fi.

Apparently the feature can reduce data use by as much as 75 percent, which should appeal to regular travellers as well as those on a tight data plan.

To accommodate these changes, the Spotify mobile apps are getting a new lick of paint, with certain menus and screens getting simplified, and making it easier for non-paying users to dig down into individual songs and artists. Album art is being made more prominent and the amount of on-screen text is being cut down.

Spotify says it currently has 71 million premium subscribers, along with 90 million listeners on the free tier. The thinking inside the company is that the better the free Spotify experience is, the more users will sign up to a subscription account, Spotify execs say.

Coming soon after Spotify went public, this is a significant investment in its non-paying users – in fact it's the first update to this part of Spotify's service since 2014. It also helps differentiate Spotify from its up-and-coming rival Apple Music, which offers a free trial but no free tier. What's more, there might be more to come.

"This is the beginning of an evolution for Spotify and we will continue to make improvements that mirror our customers' needs," said Babar Zafar, VP of Product Development at Spotify.

The new free experience is rolling out to all Spotify markets in "the coming weeks," so if you don't have it yet, be patient.

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