Radical.FM launches donation-based streaming music app

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Streaming music service Radical.FM launched a new iOS app today, which gives users access to its library of over 20 million songs. And believe it or not, there’s no subscription fee and no advertising. Instead, the company asks that its users “pay what you can” for the service…

From the App Store description:

“You are the best programmer in the world for your own radio station. No computer algorithm can satisfy the subtlety of your musical taste. Radical.FM gives you complete control. You get all the tools you need to create your very own personalized radio listening experience.

Radical.FM lets you mix any number of professionally curated Genres and assign each one a value for an endless stream of music you love, with no surprises. If you are happy with the mix just lean back and enjoy. If you want even more control, Radical.FM lets you create your own Personal Genres to add to your Stations from our library of 22 million tracks!”

So how can Radical.FM afford to run the service with no subscription fees and no advertisements? It can’t. That’s why there is a button in the app that says “Keep Radical Commercial Free!” that leads to a donation page. You can make a one-time donation, or setup a monthly thing.

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While the service is intriguing, the app itself is actually quite bad. The UI is confusing, making it tough to navigate and actions and animations happen slowly—if at all. I spent more time fighting my way around this thing than I did listening to music, which of course is a problem.

That being said, this is the first version of the app, so it’s likely to get better with updates. And as I said before, the entire premise does intrigue me, so I will be looking forward to that. In the meantime, if you’d like to check out Radical.FM, it’s available in the App Store, for free.