Spotify 'working on online radio app' to unlock unlicensed music

Pandora-like service would bring artist-based radio stations to Spotify

Spotify listeners could soon be enjoying Adele, The Beatles and other as-yet-unlicensed artists with reports suggesting the company will launch a Pandora-like online radio feature

New reports have claimed Spotify is working on a new online radio portion of its streaming application, which would give users access to music yet to be licensed by the company.

The Radio add-on would, according to Bloomberg sources, rival the likes of the US-based Pandora app, where users pick one band and a playlist is determined based on related artists.

The downside is that users don't get to choose the songs in the playlist, but the upside is that Spotify members will finally be able to play songs from the likes of Metallica, Adele, Coldplay, The Beatles and other artists who've refused to allow their music to be licensed.

As a new Spotify Radio app would be covered by a different legislation in the United States, which means songs can be played for a set royalty fee paid by the hosting company.

Of course, while that's all well-and-good for US-based Spotify fans, the Swedish streaming giant would still need to figure out a deal with the PRS (Performing Right Society) in the UK.

Pandora recently hit out at the 0.065 pence that PRS charges per song listen, saying the policy had effectively ended its plans to relaunch on these shores. Spotify would either have to eat that fee, which Pandora claimed "equates to 47 percent of the revenue Pandora achieved on a per listener per track basis," or seek to renegotiate with the PRS.

An online radio feature unlocking new artists would fit in with Spotify's existing freemium business model, according to the report, and would be used as another carrot to entice users to sign up for its £9.99 a month premium, ad free, unlimited service.

A Spotify spokesman said: "We have no announcements to share at this time," but Bloomberg says the company has already notified some content partners of its plans.

Via: Bloomberg, Wired