With the latest update to the Android version of Spotify, the company has finally brought the long-awaited Radio feature to mobile handsets. Having already been on iOS and the PC/Mac version for a few weeks now, many Android users were left wondering when they would get their update and what features it would bring to their version of Spotify. How does it stack up to the previous version? How does it stack up against other radio-like apps on Android?
The latest update, as previously mentioned, brings a feature that is relatively new to Spotify as a whole, and definitely new to the mobile versions. With the new Radio feature, users are now able to build “stations” around artists, songs and genres that select similar music. As if thanking Android users for waiting patiently, Spotify has also included the radio feature for users of the non-premium version of Spotify. Spotify offsets the loss of subscription by playing ads throughout the radio play.
How does it work? In my brief time using it, I would have to say that the Spotify Radio feature works pretty darn well. There are two different methods for selecting and creating radio stations. Users first have the option of building a station through artist/genre/song search. By selecting a result, a station is then built up based on similarities. Users then have the ability to “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” songs that they like or dislike in an effort to better fit the station to their liking. I particularly like this feature for the random times the comparison algorithm picks a song that I don’t feel fits. Having a Lionel Richie song pop up in my station based on “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” might seem to fit on paper, but one listen and you’ll see they just aren’t a match.
The other option users have is creating a station based upon a pre-existing playlist. This feature is actually really neat, especially if you’ve got an eclectic playlist.
How does Spotify stack up against its competitors? It really seems that they’ve taken a little bit of everyone else and added it into their product. With the “Music Genome” aspect of Pandora, Spotify builds playlists based around musical similarities. Adding in playlist based stations, Spotify seems to be going after I Heart Radio and Slacker Radio. About the only thing missing from the Spotify Radio is the “mood selection” found in the more recent Android App, Songza. I’ve personally never been a huge fan of music being selected by mood, so I’m pretty much okay with that feature not being included in Spotify.
With On-demand music and a huge selection, Spotify has always been my personal go-to for streaming music. With the added feature of a “Radio”, Spotify doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere in my plethora of music apps. This latest update really brings a completeness to Spotify, and aligns it with it’s big brother on the PC and Mac. My family currently pays for two Spotify premium accounts so if this post doesn’t show you how much I like the service and apps, that fact alone should speak volumes. I really like what Spotify has done so far, and can’t wait to see where Spotify goes in the future.