Big Brother is here! Spotify is preparing to command control over all your music listening choices.
On Tuesday, a new Spotify app called Stations showed up in the Google Play Store. The app offers a skeletal version of Spotify, where users can choose between selected pre-made “stations,” (literally playlists.) It’s free, and there’s no search function. Just playlists.
From the Stations bio (via SensorTower):
Stations is the easiest way to listen to the music you love. Totally free.
When you have access to all the music in the world, finding the right thing to play can feel like a challenge. With Stations, you can listen immediately, and switching stations is simple and seamless—no searching or typing needed. As you listen, it learns what you like and creates personalized stations that you’ll love.
Stations is an experiment by Spotify that makes it easy for anyone to listen to great music.
If you’re thinking, “Hey, this is just like Pandora!” Well, it is. Pandora, another music streaming service, allows users to listen to a channel curated around a particular artist (if you like Taylor Swift, then you’ll like Hailee Steinfeld, and Julia Michaels, so on and so forth) and play music from that channel. With Stations, the user picks a playlist—not based on artist—but mood, and other elements pulled from playlists on Spotify proper. It’s also...shockingly similar to how regular ol’ radio works, so we’re really going full circle here with new technology.
Much like old school radio, you can’t skip tracks on Stations. It’s also in a super early stage (at the time of publication, less than 100 people had downloaded the app) and it isn’t available on the iOS store for iPhone users or accessible to most Android phones.
Stations appears to be extremely user-friendly, with a simple interface that could attract the most casual music fan, but I’d imagine most people want some control in the music they listen to. They probably don’t want to cede all their listening choices to Spotify, especially when it’s known the streaming platform skews towards major labels and not, well, what people might actually want to hear.
Will Stations promote new music discovery? It’s more likely that this app is just another way Spotify can disconnect fans from the music they love and keep feeding them the same damn Ed Sheeran song.
We reached out to Spotify and will update if we hear any substantive details.