Imagine this: You are driving through your city, and your car stereo is automatically picking up whatever Pandora-like online radio stations people have built on each and every block. Raditaz, a new Pandora competitor that came out of beta on Thursday morning, wants to bring this kind of location feature to online radio. It’s not quite ready to run on your car stereo dashboard yet, but the company’s web, Android and iOS apps already look promising.
Raditaz launched on Thursday with more than 14 million songs, which can be used to build Pandora-like radio stations. The service allows users unlimited skips of songs they don’t like, and at least initially, Raditaz is completely ad-free. The service also allows advanced tagging of stations, so you can build your very own workout stations. Combined with the location feature, others at your gym will be able to find and listen to them as well.
Raditaz founder and CEO Tom Brophy hopes that this kind of information will also help sell ads at premium prices once the company starts to introduce advertising. He told me during a phone conversation on Wednesday that Raditaz also eventually wants to launch a premium offering. But for now, the company is concentrating squarely on growing its user base.
Comparisons to Pandora are inevitable for a noninteractive radio service like Raditaz, but there is another interesting difference between the two services, aside from the location and tagging features: Raditaz was built by a team of just seven people. “We have a completely different operating model,” Brophy said, explaining that the company has outsourced both its music catalog as well as parts of its recommendations engine to a third-party provider. This has made it possible to concentrate on working on the service’s more unique features. “It’s taken a lot of time and effort and thought,” Brophy told me.
So what’s next for Raditaz? The company is about to roll out an update to its iOS app this week, and it will update its Android app next. It is also working on a native iPad app and wants to eventually launch a tablet-optimized experience for Android as well. Devices like Sonos and car stereo implementations are also on the road map, and Raditaz will roll out an upgrade to its recommendations engine within the next 30 days.
Raditaz is based in Connecticut and has raised a total of $3 million from angel investors.