Streaming

Did Spotify’s New York Team Just Build a Radio App That Could Kill Pandora?

On stage at LeWeb in Paris, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek sent a tremor that we imagine reached all the way back at Pandora headquarters in Oakland. TechCrunch Alexia Tsotsis reports that Mr. Ek “innocuously” introduced a radio app, built on the company’s recently released app platform by Spotify’s dev team in New York.

His pitch: “It’s kind of like Pandora with unlimited skipping and unlimited stations.”

Except for the fact that Pandora has a mobile version, and Spotify’s app is still confined to the web (for now), it’s hard to imagine that Pandora, which caps users to 100 stations and eight song skips, isn’t feeling threatened.

TechCrunch reports:

“We think people will love playing around,” Ek went on about the company’s streaming play. “What we’ve discovered is that we’re a lean back experience and a lean forward. Spotify historically hasn’t been very good at curating music … [And Radio] is a big use case that a lot of people are asking us for.”

And then, “I wouldn’t say that Pandora is a competitor, we want to be a music platform.” Yeah, music platform that just subsumed Pandora’s basic function.

Pandora, of course, is now a public company (one whose stock experts say “is still an expensive proposition, especially in the face of emerging competition”). But can startup founders expect to start viewing Spotify as the next Goliath after Google, Facebook, and Apple? Reminds us of a tweet from Hype Machine founder Anthony Volodkin on the day Spotify announced its app platform:

“I thought I was running a startup but turns out I am just constantly deciding whether I am really working for Facebook, Spotify or Apple.”

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com