Streaming music app Raditaz hopes to beat Pandora at its own game

by Phil Hornshaw

Ever since the take-off in popularity of streaming music service Pandora, it seems like the field for services that bring music over the Internet has exploded, with all kinds of offerings. Some take different approaches to streaming music – Spotify and Rdio, for example, are more on-demand while Pandora is more akin to listening to the radio. A new entrant into the race, Raditaz, takes the same approach as Pandora, with the aim to do it better.

The new service just launched an app for Android today, as well as on Apple’s iOS platform. Like Pandora, Raditaz offers music in a sort of randomized, radio-like presentation. You choose a song, artist or album you like, and Raditaz brings more songs similar to what you picked in order to create a “station,” curating the list on the fly.

But Raditaz’s model seems to largely look at the things that are limiting or slightly irritating about Pandora and fix them on its own service. For example, the free version of Pandora that’s available to all users is ad-supported, which means every few tracks, users have to sit through a quick ad. As of right now, Raditaz is also free. It also boasts 15 million songs in its databases, compared to Pandora’s 900,000.

As for ad support, Raditaz uses advertising to pay for its service just as Pandora does, but it takes a different approach, focusing on “geographically relevant” advertising based on where listeners are located as they use their mobile devices to access the service. In fact, geography seems to be Raditaz’s defining feature: the service pays attention to where and when you’re listening, gathering the information to make the service better. It also allows you to see what music is trending in the physical area around you, tying you into your location in new and different ways not approached by other services.

Raditaz seems to bring some cool ideas to the streaming music scene, but it’s likely to find it a tough one into which to break. At the moment, streaming, cloud-based music services are everywhere: Spotify, Pandora and Rdio lead the list of services, while Google Music, Amazon Cloud and iTunes Match make up the three big cloud-based storage services for users’ music libraries. There have never been so many options for accessing and listening to music on the Internet before, and as Raditaz joins the race, it’ll likely find it crowded.

But there’s definitely a lot of value in tying social aspects into music services – Spotify is seeing some real successes there with its Facebook integration – and Raditaz has new things to offer in that department. It also doesn’t have to beat everyone if it can beat just one competitor: Pandora.

The audience Pandora serves is necessarily different than that served by Google, Amazon, Apple and Spotify: these are users who want to discover new music they might like and enjoy not know what they’ll hear next. Raditaz is approaching the radio model of music streaming, and if it can establish its foothold there, it has the potential to catch on the way Pandora has.