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Spotify adds iOS radio feature for non-paying users

Streaming music service Spotify has announced it is launching an update for its iOS apps that will bring free mobile radio to the iPhone and iPad - a service that was first introduced for the desktop late last year. Until now, mobile access has been restricted to paying monthly- subscribers.

Similar to what's offered by rival Pandora, the new Spotify radio feature for iOS lets users create streaming radio stations from Spotify's catalog of more than 16 million tracks. The service, which comes with audio ads, lets users create playlists based on single songs, playlists, albums, or artists.

"Our focus has always been on creating an amazing user experience," Charlie Hellman, vice president of product at Spotify, said in a statement. "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."

Users will be able to create an unlimited number of stations, and listen to songs as they like. Tracks that users 'like' with a thumbs up will be saved for playback on computers later on.

Users can personalise stations in real-time by 'liking' tracks to hear similar music, Spotify said. They'll also be able browse friends' playlists and create radio stations based on their tastes. Paying users will not hear ads, and can skip an unlimited number of tracks; non-paying users can only skip an undetermined number of songs.