[UPDATED] Spotify is in the midst of protracted renegotiations with the major labels, and a sticking point, according to multiple sources, is the music companies' desire to scale back the streamer's free service. But Spotify apparently has different ideas, and is testing a free music on-demand feature that would make paying $10 per month for premium service less attractive.
Spotify has no intention of closing the door on free music.
Spotify is testing a new feature dubbed "Jump In" that would let its free users access specific songs on-demand from within certain playlists, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation have told The Verge. I'm guessing those 'certain playlists' will be Spotify created and branded. Currently Spotify provides only a shuffle mode in its free tier.
Spotify would reportedly like to roll out the feature in the next few weeks. But that would almost certainly require special permission from its music industry partners. Such a shift would seem unlikely, unless perhaps playlists enhanced with on-demand were tied to paid sponsors that led to an increase in revenue to labels and publishers.