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News Link • Media: Radio

Review: Spotify's Mobile Internet Radio

• http://www.technologyreview.com, Rachel Metz

I've long been a fan of the Internet radio service Pandora—even more so since I got a car and discovered the joy of streaming music with it while on the go.

But now there's another free Internet radio service for the iPhone and iPad. It comes from a familiar face: Spotify, the popular online music streaming service that lets you listen to over 16 million tunes free with occasional advertising interruptions—or without ads, and with additional features, for a monthly fee.

Spotify added a free radio feature to its iPhone and iPad apps on Tuesday. The apps were previously meant for users of its premium service, which for $10 per month includes the ability to listen to on-demand tunes on your smart phone. With the radio feature, which already existed within Spotify's desktop computer software, Spotify becomes more alluring, and some of its nonpaying users may be convinced to sign up for its paid offerings.

I spent some time playing with Spotify's radio feature and found it generally on par with Pandora but in some ways even more useful.  
 
Function-wise, the Spotify feature is very similar to Pandora's app. You can choose from a number of stations preselected by genre, or create customized stations by selecting a particular artist or song and having Spotify automatically cue up similar stuff. You can then pause tracks and tap a little on-screen thumbs-up or thumbs-down to indicate that you loved or hated a song selected for you, increasing the chances that you'll like the station's future selections better.

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