Spotify plans to launch a browser-based music player to either complement or replace its desktop application, TechCrunch reports. Apparently, the reason the company hasn't updated its desktop application with many new features beyond Spotify Apps is because it's been quietly preparing a web version in the midst of launching several mobile app updates. Spotify's current desktop app relies on a special blend of streaming and peer-to-peer technology to work so quickly, while its mobile apps only use streaming. It's likely that Spotify's web app will rely wholly on streaming to deliver music to users, much like chief competitor Rdio's web app.
TechCrunch also reports that alongside Spotify's new web app will be an across-the-board redesign to help users discover music and playlists recommended by influencers. Today, discovering playlists on Spotify is simplest using external third-party sites like ShareMyPlaylists. A lower mobile-only subscription price could also be in the works, reportedly. The company currently offers only three tiers: free on desktop, ad-free on desktop for $4.99 per month, and ad-free on desktop and mobile with offline listening capabilities for $9.99 per month. A new web app and redesign should be a boon to Spotify, which has most of the mindshare in the music streaming market, even while it might barely break even on subscription revenues. A web app opens up Spotify's service to far more users, as well as makes the service more appealing to existing users since they'd be able to log in from any computer to access their collection and playlists.
Update: Peter Kafka at AllthingsD lends support to the TechCrunch report with his own sources who tell him that Spotify will begin rolling out browser access to some users "in the next month of so." He refutes the claim, however, that Spotify will be cutting the rate for its mobile ad-free service "now or anytime in the foreseeable future."
Spotify refused to comment on this story.