Spotify is testing an app that sees it moving firmly into Pandora territory.
‘Stations’ is a new Android-only app being piloted by the company in Australia – it was first noticed by app analytics firm Sensor Tower on Tuesday.
This app offers a “lean-back” option to listen to music based on genres and managed playlists. In the description, Spotify explains that it plays music instantly when opened with easily changeable stations by scrolling through the app. Like Spotify’s core service, there’s a customization element with user-based playlists created once enough music has been played for it to collect data.
The app has had less than 100 downloads so far, while it’s limited in its support for Android devices, suggesting it’s only been used by Spotify staff so far.
“We’re always testing new products and experiences, but don’t have any further news to share at this time,” is all Spotify told us when we asked.
Spotify’s main product is subscription music, but there is a free version that lets users browse playlists on mobile and is ad-supported. The theory is that offering a limited version of the product encourages users to sign up for the full product. You imagine it could easily do that with this new app, which has a Spotify login button but doesn’t require users to be paid members.
With Stations, the company appears to have taken an alternative approach by creating a standalone app that offers more direct competition to Pandora.
Pandora claims over five million users. It offers a premium subscription, but the bulk of its revenue comes from advertising – $275.7 million of the $378.6 million it earned in its last third quarter period. Late last year, Pandora boosted its revenue potential by adding video advertising to its mix.
Spotify’s exact financial situation is unclear since the company is private, but it is speculated that it plans to go public potentially as early as this year. The company has been told to opt for a “direct listing”, which would mean going public without doing an IPO. In other words, it is only the insiders, not the company, who sell shares on the stock exchange.
The Swedish company appeared to take a step towards going public when it agreed to a share swap with Tencent Music, which also reportedly plans a listing.