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Spotify Puts Radio App on iPhone, iPad

Seen as competition to Pandora

“Free mobile radio in iPhone and iPad.”

That’s the pitch to U.S. consumers from Spotify, which has launched an update to its iOS app that includes a radio feature. This move is being seen in the market as a challenge to Pandora.

Radio managers will also want to take note that the service has attracted ads from companies like Chevrolet, Heineken, Red Stag, Lipton Iced Tea, Macy’s, McDonalds and Progressive. The update will be available for download today in the App Store.

Spotify is a digital music service that gives users “on-demand access to over 16 million songs.” The company offers both free and premium (paid, no-ad) signups. It said the new feature also will be available to its premium users outside the United States.

Listing the benefits, Spotify says listeners can create streaming radio stations from single songs, playlists, albums or artists; create stations and listen as long as they like save tracks to playlists; “personalize” stations by “liking” tracks to hear similar music; and browse friends’ playlists and create radio stations based on their tastes.

In a news story about the announcement, Bloomberg quotes Spotify exec Charlie Hellman saying, “We feel like the radio experience of just hitting play, leaning back and not controlling exactly what plays is core to a great music experience.”

Spotify says it has 10 million users, 3 million paying. Bloomberg reports that Pandora at last report has 150 million registered users, with 49 million listening within the last month.