SoundCloud Enters the Streaming Radio Game and Offers Something New

The new "Stations" feature on the service will provide a crucial new avenue for new music discovery.

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The SoundCloud service is notable for being one of the most user-friendly — for both artist and listener — streaming services on the internet. It’s a hub for both amateur and professional musicians to drop off new tracks, leftovers, rough drafts, or content they don’t put on any other service; often, it’s a great way to sample new releases. Drake, notably, had radio hits off of songs that he had dropped exclusively on SoundCloud; recent significant drops like Meek Mill disses “Back to Back,” and “Charged Up,” and even “Hotline Bling” were available there first — after “OVO Sound Radio” premieres, of course. Whether you are looking for small artists you’ve never heard or exclusive content from ones you already like (say, an unheard one-off loosie from your favorite mixtape rapper), SoundCloud is one of the best places you can go and click around.

So the fact that the service is entering the streaming radio game, already big on services like Pandora or Spotify, is actually a more important and welcome advancement than it might seem on paper. Today — on both iOS and Android — the free SoundCloud app and the website will be offering a “Stations” feature. Here’s what it can do, according to the SoundCloud blog:

“A station can be generated from any track, search term, content stream or your Collection. Pull up the menu from any one of those four and select the ‘Start Station’ option. We’ll pull from the 100 million plus tracks on SoundCloud to bring you an endless stream of awesome audio.”

SoundCloud’s glitch-free interface and exclusive, unfiltered artist-to-user content (you don’t have to have your music on iTunes to be on SoundCloud) make the Stations function a boon for listeners who are serious about discovering new music. The risk of happening across bad shit is higher, but the rewards will inevitably be greater.