Spotify's Pandora-like radio feature lands on Android

Spotify's new radio feature allows you to create a station based on an artist, album or playlist

Spotify has released a new Android app that includes a Pandora-style radio feature as the online music service tries to gain a bigger foothold in the United States. The new radio feature for Android follows a similar update to Spotifys iOS app for iPhone and iPad in June. Just like on iOS the new radio feature is available to paid subscribers and non-paying users alike.

[TECH HIVE: iOS App Face-Off: Spotify Radio vs. Pandora]

Previously, only paid subscribers were able to use Spotifys mobile apps. On Android and iOS, however, non-paying users will be able to use an ad-supported version of the radio feature. But Spotify freeloaders will not be able to access Spotifys other mobile features such as downloading playlists to your mobile device.

Spotifys new radio feature for Android allows you to create a station based on an artist, album or playlist, similar to Pandora. You can also save any song you hear on your radio stations for later listening on a Liked from Radio playlist. Spotifys radio service can also learn about your preferences and try to deliver more songs it thinks you will like based on whether you give radio station songs a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Since launching in the U.S. last July, Spotify has yet to overtake its bigger online music rivals such as Pandora. A Spotify official said the service has more than 15 million active users and 4 million paying subscribers worldwide, but declined to say how many of those people were in the U.S. A report in April from The New York Post said Spotify had 3 million U.S. users, about 600,000 of whom were paying subscribers. Its not clear whether the American Spotify user base has grown significantly since then.

But even Spotifys worldwide audience is dwarfed by what Pandora claims for its active user base. The online radio service recently said there were 54.5 million active Pandora listeners at the end of June. Its not clear, however, how many of those people are paying for Pandora One, the services ad-free premium experience that costs $36 per year or $4 per month.

Spotifys subscribers can pay $10 per month for ad-free music, full mobile access, offline playlist listening, overseas listening, and improved sound quality. Or you can pay $5 per month for Spotify Unlimited featuring ad-free music and no time limits on listening.

Now that Spotify has its Pandora-like feature on the two biggest smartphone platforms, it will be interesting to see whether it can attract more users away from its more established online radio rival.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter andGoogle+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

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Ian Paul

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