Spotify Unveils Radio Service

Spotify has unveiled a new radio service, with a fresh look along with content and features that has some say could be a strong rival for Pandora.

Even the co-founder and Chief Executive of Spotify, Daniel Ek, agrees saying that "It's kind of like Pandora, but with unlimited skipping and unlimited stations."

In the past Spotify has mostly been about playing a specific selection of songs from an album or from an individual artist. With the radio application though, things will be a little different. It's more of a macro music service, allowing for a broader stroke of different styles and tracks - though users will narrow it to a single station, which boils it down to a certain category of music.

Pandora offers pretty much the same thing, but because it pays for its music by the song, skipping costs it money - which is why it charges for the service. The fact that Spotify doesn't have this limitation gives it an impressive selling point that other services might not be able to match.

The new app essentially allows you to create your own station to listen to, with your own parameters. "Starting a radio station is easy. Click 'Start Artist Radio' at the top of any artist page or just drag a track to 'Radio' in the left sidebar. Spotify will make a radio station of similar music...Your station will keep playing music based on your initial choice," the company said in a statement.

Mr Ek described this as something "people were asking for," with Spotify traditionally catering to an audience that wanted direct control - though many were asking for a less interactive experience, allowing the music to be in the background without much input. This new radio system should allow that.

This new platform is built on-top of the recently announced Spotify app system, which many companies have already signed up to. Other apps already in the works are coming from Rolling Stone, Billboard, Pitchfork, and Fuse - probably revamping the ones used on other platforms like iOS and Android.

To help increase the update of the new radio app, it's being linked in with the company's Facebook application. This let's people signed up to both to see what their friends are listening to, allowing for sharing of tracks which in turn increases awareness of different types of music.

The plan, EK says, is to get users to find Spotify as an integral part of their music listening experience. "The more they engage with Spotify, the more likely they are to pay," he said.

Currently the service is available for free, though if you want to always listen to music immediately - without an interrupting advert here and there - you need to pay. There's also a premium subscription service for those that wish to use Spotify on their mobile devices.

When asked if there were plans to generate more capital through an initial public offering, EK responded by saying there was "no IPO in sight. Definitely not," and that "The objective of the company is not to sell the company."