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Spotify arrives on the PlayStation – and it’s free

Sony's Spotify app brings free streaming to set-top boxes for the first time

Sony will today release the Spotify app for the PlayStation console, marking the first time the service has been made available for free via a set-top box. Spotify has previously appeared on Xbox and various set-top boxes, but customers have always required a premium account to stream music. Sony is the first to offer the free ad-supported tier on anything other than PCs or mobiles. 

Sony announced earlier this year that it would be replacing its own PlayStation Music service with Spotify for owners of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 console. Although the terms of the deal haven’t been made public, it seems likely that Sony will have had to pay Spotify extra to unlock the free tier for its consoles. 

Free streaming is deeply unpopular with many recording artists. Taylor Swift, Bjork and Coldplay are among the acts who have either withdrawn or delayed the release of albums on Spotify, following concerns about the amount of compensation received by artists. Reports last week suggested that the Universal record label was also putting pressure on Spotify to further limit the amount of music users could access for free. 

Spotify has repeatedly defended itself against accusations that artists aren’t properly recompensed for their work, arguing that it has returned billions of dollars of royalty payments to record labels, suggesting that the labels themselves often don’t pass that income on to their acts. 

The Spotify app for PlayStation is still lacking some of the features paid subscribers might expect to see. The app doesn’t yet offer access to your own playlists, for example, and the radio feature is also absent. Paid subscribers do get access to the high quality (320Kbits/sec streams) that are not available to freemium users, however. 

Spotify music can be streamed in the background during games, and the app can be controlled via either the PlayStation controllers, or Spotify’s mobile phone and tablet apps. 

Users of the now closed PlayStation Music Unlimited service will be given two months’ worth of Spotify Premium by means of compensation from Sony. 

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