The origins of MixRadio go all the way back to 1999, when music legend Peter Gabriel founded On Demand Distribution (OD2). But it was in 2004, when OD2 merged with another firm, and was then acquired by Nokia, that it began to take shape as a service that would eventually become the music streaming platform now known as MixRadio.
Nokia MixRadio, as it became known in 2012, later dropped the name of its owner, and was acquired by Microsoft with its purchase of Nokia's devices and services business. Microsoft sold the service to communications platform LINE at the end of last year, and now, under its new ownership, MixRadio is expanding.
Previously available exclusively on Windows Phone, MixRadio today announced its launch on Android and iOS. The company says that it is bringing "the world's easiest and most personal music streaming experience" to these new platforms.
And as part of that expansion, MixRadio is also teaming up with HTC to exclusively provide music updates for BlinkFeed on the manufacturer's Android handsets.
If you're not familiar with MixRadio, the service includes two components to its free music offering: personalized streaming and curated playlists.
Over the years, the company has developed its own 'personalization engine', analyzing billions of data points to help customize music streaming to the tastes of each individual. The app encourages users to choose some of their favorite artists as a starting point for personalization, and the platform continues to 'learn' more about their music preferences as they listen to, or skip past, each song.
In addition to personalizing your 'My Mix', the app also lets you create other customized mixes as you like, simply by selecting a few of your favorite artists. Neowin got an early look at the new Android and iOS apps last week, at which MixRadio suggested the unusual example of choosing Rod Stewart and Foo Fighters as two preferred artists.
A user who picks two such different choices will still get songs from both, but they'll also get songs from other artists based on all the other music that they enjoy listening to. As a result, no two personal mixes will ever be the same - every mix is uniquely tailored around what each individual loves most, and it becomes more personal the more you listen.
But aside from its personalized music streaming, MixRadio's curated playlists are also available for users who want to try something a bit different, or perhaps something a little more specific. There are more than 12,500 playlists available around the world, including localized options for specific markets, drawing on a catalog of over 35 million songs.
The options are extremely varied - pick the 'Zumba Fun' mix for "addictively happy Latin beats" to go with your workout; 'Chill pill' at the end of a long day; or perhaps some 'Mumbai underground hits', if that's what takes your fancy.
Whether listening to 'My Mix', mixes that you create, or one of the curated playlists, you can skip up to six tracks per mix every hour with the free streaming service. A more flexible premium offering is coming later this year, which is also expected to introduce additional features.
With its launch on Android and iOS, MixRadio has introduced a new user interface, one that the company says perfectly aligns with its 'designed for mobile' mantra. The new UI is also coming to Windows Phone, and the MixRadio app will continue to be pre-installed on Microsoft's Lumia devices for the foreseeable future.
MixRadio emphasized that despite its launch on these new platforms, it remains firmly committed to Windows Phone, and added that Microsoft was "very keen" to ensure that the app continued to be pre-loaded on its phones.
MixRadio said last week: "Windows Phone isn't the widest-used platform, but we have a huge active user base there." They were also highly complimentary of their former owners, Microsoft; they mentioned that while under its ownership, they got to see some of what the company has planned for Windows, and they expect its smartphone market share - currently under 5% - to grow quickly.
But for now, MixRadio's rollout onto Android and iOS marks a massive expansion for the company, although it isn't yet ready to expand into new markets, beyond the 31 countries that it already serves. But with the service now available for millions of new devices through its move onto these new platforms, it seems only a matter of time before MixRadio is ready to take its offering around the world.