About a month after Spotify launched its unlimited free radio feature for iOS users in the US, the company today announced the same deal for Android users. This is the first time Spotify has allowed Android users to listen for free while on the go, though a 48-hour trial has been in place for some time. Just like in the company's iOS app, Spotify for Android now lets users listen to unlimited radio stations that Spotify generates based on a song, artist, or playlist of your choosing. Users can also thumbs up and thumbs down tracks and add tracks to playlists for listening later, which sync across all devices.
While Spotify Radio for Android is new, we already heard most of the details about the feature when it debuted for iOS in June. There are a couple cosmetic differences between radio on iOS and Android, but the real news of importance here is the impact Radio has had on Spotify's app downloads — and the impact it will likely have on Android app downloads and sign-ups. Spotify told The Verge that once its radio feature launched on iOS, the app shot to the top of the App Store charts, hovering at #2 for a few days. For over two weeks the app was the #1 app in the "Music" category of the App Store. "Downloads tripled for our iOS app when radio launched," Spotify's Donovan Sung said. "We currently have over 30,000 reviews in the App Store for the current release of Spotify for iOS — the highest number of reviews we've ever had. User reception has been overwhelming positive," said Sung. The app's current review rating average is five stars.
"Downloads tripled for our iOS app when radio launched."
Prior to radio's launch on iOS, Spotify's app average was at most four stars, perhaps because many users complained that they couldn't access Spotify's unlimited on-demand service from mobile without paying $9.99 per month. Now, even users who refuse to pay have something to listen to, though there will be intermittent ads like in Spotify's desktop app for free users. Spotify Premium users won't encounter ads in the mobile app. Spotify for Android, like its iOS counterpart, is now up against iHeartRadio and Pandora in the streaming radio space. While both offer unique bonuses like real radio stations (iHeartRadio) and Music-Genome-Project-based recommendations (Pandora), neither offer the option to pay up and listen to any song on demand.
While Spotify's Android app has traditionally lagged behind its iOS counterpart, it's evident that the gap is narrowing in terms of the company's emphasis on the two platforms. Spotify still has no app for Android tablets, but its Android app has finally reached parity with its iPhone counterpart. We'd bet an Android tablet app is on its way. "We want to have feature parity across all platforms," said Sung.