Spotify has moved to offer its mobile streaming options, previously locked down under a monthly subscription, free to listeners. In an obvious response to the exponential growth that Pandora has experienced in mobile listening, Spotify will now feature “free mobile radio – Spotify style”.
The offerings feature the ability to create a station from a song, artist or genre and unlimited listening. Calling it the only free radio that you can save, Spotify mobile offers interactive options to like or dislike a song to influence your station or save the song to a playlist. Until now, it cost ten bucks to get all that on your mobile devices.
It sounds like a good offering, one I’ll bet Spotify wishes they had jumped on a little earlier. Pandora, with 150 million registered users and direct connections on lots of dashboards and tuner devices, has had a handy headstart. This move by Spotify is recognition of the impact that a popular free app in the iPhone and iPad app stores can make.
Free users in the US will hear advertisements from the following launch partners: Chevrolet, Durex, Heineken, Red Stag by Jim Beam, Lipton Iced Tea, Macy’s, McDonalds, Progressive, Red Bull, Taco Bell, Verizon Wireless, and Warner Bros – all of which are current Spotify advertisers.
As for Pandora, I suspect they knew it was only a matter of time before Spotify moved to pick up a piece of all that mobile listening to Pandora for free. They may even welcome the fact that Spotify will now join in their efforts to monetize mobile streaming ads…
You probably caught the hullaballo about Apple rejecting single station radio apps forevermore, which turned out to be a false rumor. In fact, Fred Jacobs of JacAPPS, told us via Twitter yesterday morning that one of the apps they developed for a station in Chattanooga was approved.
Dan Anstandig reports in his weekly Radio3D that “Trudy Muller, an Apple spokesperson, told Radio3D, “There are many unique radio apps on the App Store, and we look forward to approving many more. One developer has attempted to spam the app store with hundreds of variations of essentially the same radio app, and that is against our guidelines.'”
Other reports have it that Apple has become a little more discriminating in their app approval process.
Whether Apple is or isn ‘t approving single station apps is only part of the point here, and this should be taken as a shot across the bow by broadcasters. Building an app that is simply a stream starter for a simulcast is not a great idea. Listeners aren’t likely to love it, and maybe Apple won’t either.
I don’t really know what was wrong with the apps that DJBApps recently had rejected, except that they reportedly did not provide an enriching end user experience. So if you’re going to invest in an app for your single station, make it a good one that gives a person something to play with, look at, interact with. Hire someone who can put some of your station’s personality into the app. But don’t expect the app to bring you a whole new audience, this is mainly a tool for your current listeners to use to listen on their smartphones.
To expand their audience, stations should be working together and building apps that feature lots of broadcast stations. How about a Philly or Boston Radio App that offers all the stations in an area along with news and information, restaurant and shopping guides, and more? A portal to area radio stations!
Pandora became famous because of the enormous popularity of its iPhone app. One click and the listener has access to millions of listening choices. The radio industry should be working on a way to offer its content cohesively that makes listening to their stations as appealing as that…