Spotify is diversifying its offering in the hopes of starting to see some major growth. It is now debuting a free radio service in the US, very similar to Pandora. The Radio feature is available in Germany and possibly other countries, though it's only free in the trial period.
While both are music streaming services, there are major differences between the two. Pandora is an online radio, it doesn't need permission to play music, but it pays royalties per play.
Users get a custom radio station, built around their preferences and likes, and can skip songs, but only in a limited fashion. The service is free but there are ads.
The new Spotify radio is very much the same. It will stream music based on your preferences and what your friends like. You can skip songs you don't like but there are ads for free users.
Importantly though it's free on iOS and soon on Android too. Spotify users have always had to pay to get mobile access to the service.
There are some perks for paying users though, for one there are no ads and they can also save the songs they like to play later, whenever they want and how many times they want.
"Starting today, all Spotify users in the US with an iPhone or iPad can tap into millions of songs for free," Spotify announced
"Our latest app features free radio - the only radio where you can save the songs you love. Now you can discover, save and enjoy an unlimited amount of music on the go," it added.
Spotify is hardly the first on-demand streaming service to offer a radio option. In fact, it looks like an obvious feature to have and one that needs minimal effort.
But the way Spotify implemented it combined with the fact that it's the biggest of the bunch means that more people will use the radio option. Granted, Pandora still has 10 times more users in the US than Spotify has worldwide and only a portion of Spotify users pay.