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Free mobile Spotify: A fiercer iTunes competitor?

Streaming music service Spotify announced that it's finally offering free versions for tablet and mobile apps that will perform more like its Web streaming service.

Users will be able to search, shuffle and play songs from their iOS and Android devices, paying only in time spent listening to advertisements, the company announced Wednesday.

Mobile Spotify users previously had to pay $10 per month for a premium subscription in order to access their full accounts on tablets or smartphones.

Jonathan Nackstrand | AFP | Getty Images

Spotify hopes to profit from the free apps by attracting more subscribers who are willing to pay for ad-free listening, according to Jennifer Jolly, tech columnist at USA Today.

Jolly said other streaming music services like Apple's iTunes Radio and Pandora have had a leg up on Spotify, but this new offering could make it more competitive.

"The others out there have really been beating Spotify with streaming radio and Internet radio, so this really levels the playing field," Jolly said.

Spotify makes its money from subscriptions and advertising, but pays 70 percent of that revenue to record labels, artists and other music rights holders, according to the company.

—By CNBC's Althea Chang