May 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Review: Stereomood Radio for Web, Smartphones

Stereomood isn’t online radio in the same vein as Pandora or Last.fm. Rather, it’s designed, to provide mood music; put it on and leave alone. Founded nearly three years ago in Milan, the site relies on one of the most comprehensive, creative tagging systems on the Internet, a wide net cast over such unlikely classifiers as “heck yeah,” “Asleep on my Feet,” “Driving Route 66,” and “Good Karma.”

Current song info runs at the top of Stereomood's player. Your playlist is listed at the bottom.

Your subsequent listening experience consists of clever selections, though returning to the same mood can yield the same result.

Station Creation

There are a number of ways to start the process of playing music on Stereomood, but only one is obvious and, frankly, encouraged. That, of course, is the method that distinguishes Stereomood from similar sites. Stereomood encourages you to “listen to the music that best suits [your] mood or [your] activity.” So if you’re tired, listen to the “Sleepy” station and you’ll find sleep-inducing music. If you’re hard at work, put on “Working,” and you’ll start hearing a productivity-encouraging playlist.

Choose the music you want to hear based on how you're feeling.

Stereomood does a fine job of creating appropriate playlists, and because of its mix of relatively obscure songs and known artists, you can put a playlist on and forget about that browser tab until it runs out, and you’ll never hear a single advertisement. This takes a while, because even the smallest playlists have 300 or more songs.

Other ways to use Stereomood include searching by artist, track, album or keyword; queuing up your Stereomood library or a personalized playlist (anybody with an account can build a library of songs they’ve favorited); or listening to the library or personalized playlist of another Stereomood user. However, none of these options are particularly unique, extravagant or appealing, when compared to the competition.

Mobile App Options

Stereomood's mobile app presents you with mood tags immediately after you open the app.

In order to activate Stereomood’s mobile app, you’ll need to create a free account, which is easy. The only strange part is synching up your “pin number” with the mobile app. After that, opening the Stereomood app presents an updated list of the most popular tags that changes each time. Tap one (“Relax,” “Dreamy,” “Just Woke Up,” “Sunny Day”), and the station starts playing immediately, and you can skip forward or backward.

Using the tags to start playlists is literally the only thing that you can do on Stereomood’s mobile app. You don’t even have the options available on the web browser to “favorite” songs or band them or share them. It’s just a player, and its only interactive feature is finding stations by mood. Also, the app lacks caching and AirPlay features we like so much from the competition.

Design

Stereomood’s look is hip, playful, socially friendly. The site’s icons are big and obvious, and you won’t be inundated with options that could otherwise prove distracting and annoying.

A side note: The default background art — a flower against a green backdrop — is nice and works with the site’s look, but it might make sense for them to flip the background art so that it more accurately corresponds to the type of music you’re listening to. It’s sort of funny to look at the flower to the left when you’re on the “Gangsta” channel.

Sharing

Like Last.fm, Stereomood encourages intra-service sharing, so it’s also somewhat of a social network in its own right, though not as extensive as Last.fm. The service also shares via Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, Delicious, Friendfeed and MySpace. Or, if you want to send a particular song or playlist to a specific individual who doesn’t have a Stereomood account, you can do so through email.

Do You Get What You’re Looking For?

If putting on music and leaving your browser be is what your looking for, then Stereomood is absolutely a legitimate option. You won’t get any of the extensive intractability available through a lot of the other players, but their selection is extensive and it’s a fun, easy program to use.

Payment Options

Stereomood is free and lacks advertisements.

Supported Platforms