“Say hello to mobile radio,” said Spotify when it announced its mobile app debut on its blog last Tuesday. The Swedish online music service now offers free internet radio similar to Pandora Internet Radio for use on mobile devices. And similar to Pandora and the Spotify desktop version, Spotify mobile radio is supported by advertisements, making the service accessible for free in the US.
Charlie Hellman, Spotify’s VP of Product said in a statement:
“Our focus has always been on creating an amazing user experience. The radio feature we’ve added to our iPhone and iPad apps gives users the ability to discover, listen and save what they like on the go – all within one app – for free.”
Spotify users opting for the free service will be able to stream radio stations according to genre, artists, song titles or playlists. They can also give songs a “thumbs up’’, bookmarking the song for later use on desktop or mobile. Non-premium users will hear 2-3 minute advertisements every 60 minutes and will be allowed to skip six songs each hour. On the other hand, premium users can enjoy an ad-free streaming and skip songs unrestrictedly.
In an email, Spotify told Wired.co.uk,
“As a result of unique Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) US licensing laws, we’re able to offer a standalone free version (i.e. no subscription required) of the mobile radio feature to all US music fans. We aim to bring a free mobile radio service to Spotify users in all countries over time, subject to licensing,”
Spotify has been charging its users $9.99 per month. For the first time, Spotify is allowing its users to stream music for free and with this free radio service offering, Spotify is likely to lessen, if not totally wipe out advantages Pandora has over Spotify.
However, even with its 10 million registered users and 3 million paying subscribers, Spotify still has a long way to go in order to defeat Pandora which currently has over 150 million users . Though the free internet radio is quite appealing, it is still an obvious fact that non-payers are denied of features that the premium users have access to, and Spotify users it seems, are missing out on some cool functionalities that Pandora has to offer.
Nonetheless, sidestepping Pandora and the competition, Spotify mobile radio is still a high spot for the music streaming company that users should take advantage of.
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