"At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of experiments to create better listening experiences for our users," a Spotify spokesperson told Engadget. "Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning. Spotify Stations is one of those tests. "
Music will start playing when you open the app, just as Pandora does. Instead of searching for an artist or album, you'll pick from a number of playlists (or stations). You won't need the main app to use Stations, though you do need a Spotify account. Premium subscribers of course get unlimited skips and ad-free listening, while the free version includes ads and limited skips.
Stations will personalize playlists with music it thinks you'll love based on your Spotify history. You can help Spotify learn what you enjoy and what you'd rather not hear by giving songs a thumbs up or down, decide which playlists are featured in the main menu and create new stations by selecting artists to center them around. You can also rename playlists, add or remove artists from them or delete them entirely.
The app includes certain popular playlists from the main Spotify service, including Discover Weekly, Favorites and Release Radar. It's a clear shot at the likes of Pandora as Spotify seems to be muscling in on the laid-back listening experience. On the flip side, Pandora rolled out an on-demand version of its service a couple of years ago, and it also offers personalized playlists. Stations is just another salvo in the fight for music streaming supremacy.