Discover New Music For Free With The New & Improved Spotify Radio

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Spotify continues to go from strength-to-strength. After becoming a growing presence in Europe over the course of several years, it emigrated across the Atlantic to embrace the U.S. The ultimate goal is to span the globe, and while doing so, founder Daniel Ek and his team of developers are trying to endlessly improve the service to ensure it stays ahead of the competition.

That competition is fierce, with Deezer, We7, Rdio (North America), and the legal-but-not-licensed Grooveshark all present in this sector. Spotify is trying to prove itself the ubiquitous service that everyone needs compared to the also-rans people merely want. One of the ways it hopes to achieve this is with apps built around its platform. Which includes the fantastic, new and improved, Spotify Radio.

Spotify Apps

Spotify recently added apps to its heady mix of streaming music on multiple devices for an affordable price. I’m a big fan of this evolution of the service, and have already recommended five of the most addictive currently available. At the time of writing there are just 15 apps ready to install, but more are promised over the coming months.

One of those that didn’t get a mention in my previous write-up was Spotify Radio, partly because it was already present on the service, and partly because it’s so good I felt it deserved exploring in greater depth.

The new The Echo Nest-powered Spotify radio is a vast improvement on the old Spotify Radio. So much so that I feel the current Internet radio choice of the masses, Pandora, may be finished.

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Spotify Radio

Spotify Radio is, by default, already added to the sidebar along with Top Lists. Both of which were in-built Spotify features before the addition of apps was even considered. But while Top Lists remains the same (barring an extra option to list top tracks and top albums by location) Spotify Radio has evolved.

It used to be a rather lame option which would play music according to the genres and decades (like the awful 80s) you’d selected. It barely worked, and didn’t have a high hit-rate for playing music you’d actually want to hear based on your previous selections.

Now, however, things are different. Open up the Spotify Radio app and you’re faced with a very simple-yet-elegant user interface. It has the current radio station you’re listening to at the top, recent radio stations underneath, and for those without the inspiration to choose their own, popular artists and popular genre radio stations listed at the bottom.

Clicking on any of these will instantly start a new radio station playing. There is also the option to ‘Create New Station‘, with a dropdown search bar giving you instant search results for both artists and individual tracks based on a Google-style autocomplete feature.

By Artist, Track, Or Genre

By Artist

This is a radio station based on the artist, in this case Metronomy. As Metronomy are an alternative indie band with a very unique sound this will throw up an eclectic mix of artists and songs. And some unknown hidden gems, no doubt.

By Track

This is a radio station based on an individual track, in this case Creep by Radiohead. As Radiohead are a British band, other bands from the U.K. will flourish, mostly with songs that are the antipathy of pop. Just as Creep is.

By Genre

This is a radio station based on a genre, in this case Alternative. Radio stations based on a genre are the most likely to throw up unexpected tracks. Musical genres are vast, and so the list of songs Spotify Radio can choose to play you is vast as well.

Music Discovery

As usual with Spotify, the Radio app is just the beginning of your musical journey. At some point you’ll hear a track you love but don’t know anything about. Which is when you need to delve back into Spotify and work some magic. Open Spotify Radio and you’ll be able to discover not only the artist responsible for that track but a lot more besides.

If you move your cursor across the playlist, you can highlight the currently-playing or one of the previously-played tracks. Click on it and you’ll be taken to that track in context within the album it comes from.

In this case by clicking on Norgaard by The Vaccines, I have discovered What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? You can then add the individual song or the full album to a playlist, star it for future reference, or even share it via a social network or two.

You can also explore more albums by the artist, or by clicking on the artist’s name, find out more about them and even see ‘Related Artists‘. One random song played in Spotify Radio has just opened up a whole new realm of music discovery. Not something that’s possible with the one-way, non-interactive dinosaur that is broadcast radio.

Conclusions

Spotify Radio can be used in many different ways:-

As a radio station creator, as the name suggests: Make a selection, press ‘Play‘, and you’ll have music blasting until you press ‘Stop‘.

As a tool for discovering new music: You love a particular band but have listened to them to death, then Spotify Radio will help you find artists of a similar style or mood.

As a means of discovering what’s popular: Keeping tabs on the ‘Popular‘ stations as shown in the screenshot above.

Have you used the new, improved Spotify Radio yet? If so, what do you think of it? Are there any features you’d like to see added, or anything Spotify could be doing better on this score or any others? Barring the permanent removal of all adverts, of course.

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18 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Joshua Clarke

If only it didn’t require FB to sign up, I’d be all over it….

Dave Parrack

From my perspective Spotify is totally worth the effort in signing up to Facebook. Especially if you’re willing t pay for it to have the limitations lifted.

That doesn’t mean I like that Spotify changed its sign-up process though.

TheCrazeez

Somehow I was able to create an account that was not through Facebook or Twitter. I feel the same way, it seems more sites are using this method of enrollment and I refuse to do it. Facebook knows waaay to much about us the way it is.

Dave Parrack

Was that after they introduced the Facebook prerequisite? If you can figure out how you did it I’d be interested to hear the details.

Reply

Peter McM

If it had a thumb up/down system that evolved to know what you liked as well would perfect it for me

Dave Parrack

That’s not a bad idea but then that’s essential on Pandora thanks to the skip limit. On Spotify Radio you can skip as often as you like, so if you don’t like a song then just keep clicking Next.

Joshua Clarke

Pandora.com. Go there.

Peter McM

Not in the Uk you can’t

Dave Parrack

As Peter says, it’s only available in the U.S. now. So useless for the rest of us.

Joshua Clarke

Proxies. Google them. :)

Dave Parrack

I’m aware of proxies, Joshua, but thanks for the tip :)

I still feel Spotify Radio trumps it.

Reply

Rachel

Is there a way to get the radio to play on the Iphone? If so I haven’t figured that out yet.

Dave Parrack

As far as I know the apps haven’t made it to the mobile versions of Spotify yet. Which is rather shameful for the asking price.

Reply

Rachel

Is there a way to listen to the radio from the Iphone? If so, I haven’t been able to figure it out & that’s how I primarily listen.

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Anonymous

Sticking with Grooveshark.I won’t sign up with Spotify (or any other app for that matter) using my personal Facebook account.

Dave Parrack

I’m wondering if Spotify is gaining more users from the whole Spotify sharing strategy than it’s losing by people refusing to sign up to Facebook.

Either way try not to get too attached to Grooveshark as it’s straddling the fine line between legal and not-so-legal.

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Jeffrey

The fantastic Spotify Radio has introduced me to so many new artist since December when it was launched. I just hope it helps them make some money for their talents.

One niggle – it would make listening so much smoother if it FINISHED playing the current track BEFORE pulling in the new ones on the radio function. At the moment it just stops playing and goes on to the first radio track.

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