Radical.fm, Swedish Streaming Start-up, Takes Aim at Spotify's Crown
Radical.fm, Swedish Streaming Start-up, Takes Aim at Spotify's Crown

Sweden, the country that brought the world Spotify, is spawning another free on-demand music service via Radical.fm.

The Stockholm-based company, which launched last year as a radio streaming service in Sweden, on Tuesday is adding an unlimited on-demand and curated streaming radio service that's not only free of charge, but also advertising-free.

Swedish listeners will have access to a catalog of 20 million IFPI-licensed songs from major labels. Users outside Sweden will have to be content with "indie" content, at least until Radical.fm's founder, Thomas McAlevey, can persuade major labels to globally expand its licenses.

Radical.fm proposes a twist on the typical "freemium" business model that give some features away for free and charges for "premium" experiences, such as the ability to listen on mobile devices or cache songs for offline listening.

The Stockholm for-profit start-up will open up the entire service for free, but wants users to donate money. How much?

"One million dollars," McAlevey said, half-jokingly, "if you can afford that. Otherwise a fiver will do."

McAlevey conceded, however, that $10 a month per user is "what would work if everyone paid."

Ten percent of the money collected would go to charity, he said. The rest would be used to pay "label artists, support Indie artists and provide the most progressive music service in the world."

"Radical believes everyone is entitled to enjoy great music, even the young and unemployed, so we don't force users to buy a subscription," the company said in its press release. "Radical also believes radio is best experienced in an ad-free environment, and it is Radical's goal to provide all services free of advertising. But Radical relies on your support to continue."