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Streaming music service Radical.FM launched a new iOS app today, providing users with access to more than 22 million songs at no cost and with no advertising. Rather than charging a subscription fee, Radical.FM asks its customers to "pay what you can" for the service.

radicalfm.jpg
While Radical.FM is similar to Pandora in that it allows users to create personalized stations, Radical.FM's content is centralized around genres rather than specific songs and artists. Users can select a percentage of each genre to listen to in one station, creating a playlist that mixes a variety of content.
Radical.FM is a complete music and audio content delivery service with unique features and controls. Unlike other services, Radical's Stations do not "guess" what you might like based on song choices and subjective computer parameters. Instead, Radical divides its library into Genres and allows you to blend as many as desired and assign each a value relative to the others. Blending can be changed instantaneously, creating an endless stream of precisely the kind of music and other material toy want to hear at any given moment.
In addition to allowing users to create genre-based playlists, the app also includes tools for blocking unwanted songs and artists and functionality that lets users add and delete genres and adjust genre values.

Radical.FM is a universal app that can be downloaded for free. [Direct Link]

Article Link: Radical.FM Launches New 'Pay What You Can' Streaming Music App
 

bbeagle

macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2010
3,441
2,734
Buffalo, NY
I've always wondered, how do services like this get their songs onto their servers in the first place?

If I would start up a music service, would I have to spend millions of dollars to buy all the songs so I can stream them, or do I get access to the songs by paying the music industry something per play, and using some service of theirs to transfer all the songs to my servers? Or pirate all the music, and pay the music industry some small fee per song played?

I would guess the later, which is why all these companies can start up and not expect any money from their users.
 
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aziatiklover

macrumors 68030
Jul 12, 2011
2,698
144
8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
22 million songs at no cost and with no advertising. Rather than charging a subscription fee, Radical.FM asks its customers to "pay what you can" for the service.

Lol wat? I cant pay anything do I still get all the goodies?
 
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jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,790
3,713
California
22 million songs at no cost and with no advertising. Rather than charging a subscription fee, Radical.FM asks its customers to "pay what you can" for the service.

Lol wat? I cant pay anything do I still get all the goodies?

Yes.
 
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NewbieCanada

macrumors 68030
Oct 9, 2007
2,574
35
What incentive does anyone have to pay for this? iTunes radio, for example, gives you a commercial-free experience if you pay for iTunes match.
 
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Gasu E.

macrumors 601
Mar 20, 2004
4,729
2,770
Not far from Boston, MA.
What is the deal for the artists (and/or labels, for that matter)? If everyone chooses to pay "zero", how do artists get paid?

This all sounds too good to be true.
 
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unplugme71

macrumors 68030
May 20, 2011
2,827
754
Earth
I rather pay by how much I listen too. This is why I no longer pay for cable tv, xm radio, or music subscriptions.

I used to have two cars with xm. I was only driving my second car 1-2x a week. Of those 1-2x a week, I mostly listened to my iPod. Yet I was paying $7/mo for xm as a second radio. That's really expensive!

Instead, I turned to pay per tv episode, pay per movie, pay per song. It's cheaper for me and I get what I want, when I want, and how I want. I control everything.

The point of cable tv was no commercials. The point of xm was no commercials. Both play commercials. Both charge a lot of money even if you only watch/listen to it for 2 hours a week.

This method is no longer appealing to our generation.

----------

What is the deal for the artists (and/or labels, for that matter)? If everyone chooses to pay "zero", how do artists get paid?

This all sounds too good to be true.

The company will get a big fat bill. Can't pay it and shutdown. The end. NEXT!
 
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CindyRed

macrumors member
May 26, 2011
77
0
I rather pay by how much I listen too. This is why I no longer pay for cable tv, xm radio, or music subscriptions.

I used to have two cars with xm. I was only driving my second car 1-2x a week. Of those 1-2x a week, I mostly listened to my iPod. Yet I was paying $7/mo for xm as a second radio. That's really expensive!

Instead, I turned to pay per tv episode, pay per movie, pay per song. It's cheaper for me and I get what I want, when I want, and how I want. I control everything.

The point of cable tv was no commercials. The point of xm was no commercials. Both play commercials. Both charge a lot of money even if you only watch/listen to it for 2 hours a week.

This method is no longer appealing to our generation.

I think there's room enough for different business models here, unlike Sattelite radio, which became a hot mess after the first fiscal report showed nobody wanted pay radio as it existed at the price offered. Where some enjoy a vast library for a subscription they can cancel or deactivate at any time like Spotify, some prefer music a la carte such as you (and myself in all honesty) for the sense of ownership. There will be many who will enjoy receiving a limited, but still vast library at a discounted or no cost. I can see this business model being as useful, yet limited as XBox music on Windows. Like the old saying goes, different strokes...
 
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TheKrs1

macrumors 6502
Apr 11, 2010
350
92
What incentive does anyone have to pay for this? iTunes radio, for example, gives you a commercial-free experience if you pay for iTunes match.

If you want the service to be around for a while, you will want to pay. They have overhead in regards to employees, servers and they still have to pay royalities. If they don't get enough funds to cover those costs they disappear.
 
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SolRayz

macrumors 6502a
Jul 5, 2007
686
0
Ft. Lauderdale
A little slow and buggy. Will definitely need some updates if they want to compete with Spotify or the million other services available.
 
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Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,375
671
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Instead, I turned to pay per tv episode, pay per movie, pay per song. It's cheaper for me and I get what I want, when I want, and how I want. I control everything.

The point of cable tv was no commercials. The point of xm was no commercials. Both play commercials. Both charge a lot of money even if you only watch/listen to it for 2 hours a week.
That model doesn't work for everyone's prefences--my wife, for example, prefers a stream of random content with a DJ and actually likes a few ads--but that describes my own decision process and personal taste exactly.

I don't listen to enough music or watch enough TV to justify an ongoing subscription, and I would MUCH rather pay an a-la-carte fee for exactly the things I want and consume them with no advertising. With music, particularly, my tastes are eclectic enough that that allows me to buy the specific, obscure stuff I like and listen to it as much as I want without any ongoing fee. And the more I pay in, the bigger my "personal radio" playlist of stuff I REALLY like gets.

I also strongly prefer being the consumer, rather than the product. And let's face it, when you buy a track or movie outright, you are the consumer. When you watch something ad-sponsored, you are the product being sold to the advertisers, like it or not.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,278
5,416
This sounds like Wikipedia's model to me - most people never pay a cent but get tons of benefits. A handful of people donate and get nothing more for it. I made a one time donation of $20 to Wikipedia a few years ago. When I'm out of debt (hopefully soon, probably not for another two years) I'll probably make another donation of $20.

A big difference, I would expect, is that whereas Wikipedia only has to pay for a few staff and a lot of servers serving mostly text with a few images, this has to serve up audio (probably more intensive than text and images) and whereas Wikipedia authors/editors make contributions on their own time and dime, musicians and publishers generally expect to be paid.
 
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jamojamo

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2010
385
0
What incentive does anyone have to pay for this? iTunes radio, for example, gives you a commercial-free experience if you pay for iTunes match.

Incentive: You don't have to pay for iTunes Match. $25

Also, for everyone saying this will be a dismal failure, I am guessing when you sign up for this you will provide them info so they can "leverage" your listening habits and the info you give them (maybe by not targeting you with Ads in app but they may sell your info to third parties who may be interested in sending you offers, etc.)

Or they could just be giving it away free for a while then down the road offer premium options to people willing to pay. Build the users, get them hooked, then charge....

:p
 
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NewbieCanada

macrumors 68030
Oct 9, 2007
2,574
35
If you want the service to be around for a while, you will want to pay. They have overhead in regards to employees, servers and they still have to pay royalities. If they don't get enough funds to cover those costs they disappear.

Yes I understand they have costs. That’s not what I was getting at. They have the same costs as any other music service but are using a model that will bring in dramatically less revenue than one that is advertiser or subscription based.
 
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cmwade77

macrumors 65816
Nov 18, 2008
1,067
1,183
Yes I understand they have costs. That’s not what I was getting at. They have the same costs as any other music service but are using a model that will bring in dramatically less revenue than one that is advertiser or subscription based.
I don't know if that is indeed true.....I think overall people are honest and will do the right thing, allowing this service to have a good run. But I may very well be wrong, we shall see.
 
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HowEver

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2005
790
261
Toronto
Don't worry. RadicalFM may not 'charge' you to listen, but you'll still be 'paying'--with your information and choices.
 
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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,426
887
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
The app is ugly. I know that doesn't matter to the kids who will be hogging it, but wow, is it just ugly. They aren't using the Facebook branding properly at all.

I too think they will come and go too. It's a legit project that the guy behind it is putting his heart into, but the demand will just be too much to afford.
 
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NewbieCanada

macrumors 68030
Oct 9, 2007
2,574
35
I don't know if that is indeed true.....I think overall people are honest and will do the right thing, allowing this service to have a good run. But I may very well be wrong, we shall see.

It's not a matter of honesty. They aren't stealing when there is no set price and no requirement to pay. Ask any shareware developer what percentage pay.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,278
5,416
Alright, I've now downloaded the app and played with it for an hour. Here's details of interest:

- They may not have commercial ads, but the music isn't interruption free. Every 15 minutes or so it stops and someone talks for ~15 seconds to say something along the lines of "Hey, isn't this great? Did you know about button X that does feature Y. We are free and have no commercial plans, but we can only run as long as people donate. So don't forget to donate. Enjoy!" - I kid not. It's basically just 3 bullet points in 15 seconds.
- The interface is slow as hell, with virtually no animation or indicators that it has registered your touch. Thus you can touch repeatedly and hit things you didn't mean to when it finally moves or you can touch, wait 5 seconds, realize it didn't register, and try touching again.
- The music library is quite extensive. I couldn't think of any artist I listen to from any corner of the globe or niche market who didn't have at least a few tracks in their library. Most artists full collections were there from what I could tell.
- You can pick the exact songs you want to play, but you have to give it a list of 30 or more songs and then it'll shuffle through them. So if you're in the mood to listen to a specific song, you'll have to hit the buy button or swap over to YouTube or something.

I'll probably use it on my iPhone and use Spotify on my Macs from now on... And now I don't think I'll ever be paying for my music again. I might donate to these people someday. I might not. They'll have to improve the UI dramatically before I do.
 
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Gasu E.

macrumors 601
Mar 20, 2004
4,729
2,770
Not far from Boston, MA.
I don't know if that is indeed true.....I think overall people are honest and will do the right thing, allowing this service to have a good run. But I may very well be wrong, we shall see.

I think only about 10% of USA public radio listeners actually pay for it. And those are mainly adults; a music service would include lots of kids/teens.

----------

Alright, I've now downloaded the app and played with it for an hour. Here's details of interest:

- They may not have commercial ads, but the music isn't interruption free. Every 15 minutes or so it stops and someone talks for ~15 seconds to say something along the lines of "Hey, isn't this great? Did you know about button X that does feature Y. We are free and have no commercial plans, but we can only run as long as people donate. So don't forget to donate. Enjoy!" - I kid not. It's basically just 3 bullet points in 15 seconds.
- The interface is slow as hell, with virtually no animation or indicators that it has registered your touch. Thus you can touch repeatedly and hit things you didn't mean to when it finally moves or you can touch, wait 5 seconds, realize it didn't register, and try touching again.
- The music library is quite extensive. I couldn't think of any artist I listen to from any corner of the globe or niche market who didn't have at least a few tracks in their library. Most artists full collections were there from what I could tell.
- You can pick the exact songs you want to play, but you have to give it a list of 30 or more songs and then it'll shuffle through them. So if you're in the mood to listen to a specific song, you'll have to hit the buy button or swap over to YouTube or something.

I'll probably use it on my iPhone and use Spotify on my Macs from now on... And now I don't think I'll ever be paying for my music again. I might donate to these people someday. I might not. They'll have to improve the UI dramatically before I do.

So suppose I'm in an Indy band. What's to stop me from creating a free account with just one playlist heavy with my own songs, and playing that 7x24? Now I'm owed some amount of royalties, right?
 
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