Spotify users in the United States can now enjoy an artist radio function that mimics personalized Internet radio services like Pandora. The function had long been a standard feature available to European users, and it is found in existing U.S. subscription services such as Rdio, Rhapsody and MOG.
To hear an artist's radio station, go to an artist page and look for the "Artist Radio" tab next to "Overview," "Biography" and "Similar Artists." At Adele's artist page, for example, Spotify tells us Adele's artist radio will include similar artists like Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Florence + the Machine, Kate Nash, Beth Orton, Paulo Nutini and Mumford & Sons. After hitting the play button at the bottom of the page, the listener is taken through one song after another by Adele and those and other artists.
Since Spotify is an on-demand service, its radio listeners have a high level of control. Unlike personalized radio services that are non-interactive, Spotify's artist radio allows the user to skip around within song and skip forward or backward to other songs.
But Pandora, Slacker and other personalized radio services need not feel threatened just yet. Spotify's artist radio is a nice additional feature but not a game-changing production addition. It lacks user ratings that fine-tune future song selection. Nor is there a way to add additional songs and artists to the playlist. And because the radio function is not its main function, getting to an artist radio page requires a bit of navigation.
Still not available to U.S. Spotify users is the radio function that allows users to create a stream of songs by selecting any combination of genres and decades.