Spotify takes on Pandora with radio revamp: unlimited stations and song skips

Spotify Radio

Check out our comparison of the Spotify Radio and Pandora mobile apps for the latest on the two streaming services.

Spotify has relaunched its radio with new an all-new feature set, gently edging itself into territory currently occupied by the likes of Pandora and Sirius XM. In fact, Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek made it quite clear who the company had in its sights with the new radio, describing it as “kind of like Pandora with unlimited skipping and stations,” while on stage at the LeWeb’11 conference this morning.

The new version offers the listener a personalized radio experience, where a track is selected from an artist’s page inside Spotify and then a “radio station” is built around it. With access to more than 15 million songs, the newly overhauled recommendation engine will have plenty of choices. Listeners can skip as many songs as they like, and add tracks to a playlist for the future. Pandora, on the other hand, limits the number of times non-paying users can skip songs they dislike.

In addition to the unlimited track skips, users will be free to create as many stations as they like, and the service will be available without a subscription on the desktop edition of Spotify. Mobile users shouldn’t worry though; when asked about the new radio making it onto Spotify’s mobile apps, Daniel Ek told TechCrunch the feature would be coming “very soon.”

With the introduction of the new radio service, along with the recently announced app platform and Facebook integration, we wonder if Pandora’s Tom Conrad still feels the same as he did speaking to GigaOm last month, when he described the relationship between the two companies as “friends, not foes.” Given he mentioned Spotify’s purely on-demand nature and subscription model, possibly not.

Spotify’s new radio feature will begin rolling out on the desktop over the next few days, but if you’re keen to give it a try beforehand then it’s available as a beta preview here.

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