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Spotify Stations App Is Dead: How to Use Spotify's Radio Feature Instead

The Stations app functioned like Pandora, but the Radio feature inside Spotify works similarly.

Spotify logo on a phone
Sarah Tew/CNET

Spotify Stations, which rolled out in the US in 2019, shut down on May 16. Originally launched in beta, the standalone music streaming app operated like radio with curated playlists. Though it had fewer features than the main Spotify app, users could customize their listening experience with small tweaks such as genre, artist or era. After awhile, Spotify Stations' music would become more personalized based on your history, and listeners even had a thumbs-down option.

Spotify notified its free and premium Stations app users that they can migrate their existing playlists into the main app. But what's the alternative when you're transitioning from Spotify Stations? Enter: Spotify Radio. It works similarly to Stations and comes with a handful of features.

With Stations gone, tap into Spotify Radio

Once you sign up for either a free or premium account on the standard Spotify app, you'll have access to its Radio feature, which serves up music based on your interest in a particular artist, song or album. Songs are updated and added on a routine basis, and diving into the radio experience often results in discovering new artists or tracks. 

Spotify's algorithm will automatically recommend certain Radio options to you built around your tastes, but you can also fine-tune the experience. To launch Radio, you can search for an artist, song, playlist or album, click on your selection and tap the three dots to open the menu. Scroll down and click on "Go to radio," symbolized with a broadcast icon. 

Spotify artist menu page for Rihanna
Screenshot by Kourtnee Jackson/CNET

Typically, Radio streams 50 songs, but you can extend it into endless play if you enable Autoplay in Spotify settings. Disable Autoplay if you don't want a recommended Radio station to pop up after you've listened to an album or playlist.

If you click the heart icon to signal that you like a song or musician, Spotify will later recommend other curated radio channels aligned with your preferences. You can't create your own radio stations, but you can follow or "like" your favorites, and they will show up in your personal library. Premium subscribers who save artist, song or album-based Radio stations as playlists can download them for offline listening. 

No 'thumbs down' on Spotify Radio

While Spotify Stations had thumbs-up and thumbs-down options for listeners, Radio works a bit differently. If you like a track, artist or song, you can tap the heart icon. But if you hear a song you don't like, you have to click the three dots to open the menu and find "Hide song," which has a circle with a minus sign inside it. 

Spotify menu option for hide this song on Doja Cat radio
Screenshot by Kourtnee Jackson/CNET

If you hide a song as it's playing, Spotify will immediately skip to the next song. You can always reverse any hidden songs if you change your mind. If you recognize a title or artist you're not fond of as you scroll through the radio station's track list, you can remove the song from your lineup before or after it plays. And if you have a Spotify Premium account, you have unlimited song skips.

You can also block artists' music. If you go to their page, you can hit the three-dot menu and click "Don't play this" to prevent their music from being played.

Want more options? Try Pandora

Perhaps you don't want to fiddle with Spotify, its radio stations or other features, but you prefer the randomness of a radio-like streaming experience. Pandora's music streaming service allows you to create radio stations from scratch. 

Search for a genre, artist, or song, and the app will automatically curate songs for you and name the radio station. That includes niche areas like dance workouts, '90s R&B, or yoga music. You can rate songs or skip them, and create spinoff stations for new music you like. Pandora has ad-supported and ad-free subscription plans, and it will play an endless array of songs in your stations' lineups. And the app will allow you to make up to 250 radio stations, whether you have a free or paid account.

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