The Now That’s What I Call Music (‘Now’ for short) compilation series has been running since 1983, evolving in the streaming era with playlists on the big DSPs, but also its own subscription-based mobile app. It costs £4.99 a month and has a tightly-focused catalogue of chart hits.

Now the app has added a free tier, supported by advertising. There are limitations, of course: listeners will only be able to listen to the app’s catalogue and weekly charts in shuffle mode, with ads between the songs. The news comes after the Now Music App saw a surge in popularity in the UK amid the current Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have seen a huge uptake in app downloads and streams pushing the app to the No.1 position over the Easter bank holiday, and we hope our free tier will give people more choice to access the music they love,” said senior digital director Alex McCloy. It will certainly give some of those new downloaders something to listen to rather than just prompting them to pay, although in a crowded free-streaming market with Spotify, YouTube and Amazon, the Now app will still face plenty of challengers.

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