Unlock Access to On-Demand Listening Experiences

Kelvin Reese
December 16, 2017

One of the biggest draws to Premium is the ability to stream on-demand music alongside Pandora's radio stations, but the streaming service is now expanding this feature to both Plus and free members as well. Stifel analysts led by John Egbert wrote that while Spotify and YouTube also allow mobile users to listen to music on demand for free, "this feature helps Pandora narrow that gap and could potentially avoid pushing the company's listeners toward rival services when they're looking for a specific song".

This is something Pandora users have been asking about for years, and seems aimed at jump-starting flagging user growth, especially among young people. Pandora shares have fallen 61% this year, compared with a 19% gain for the S&P 500 Index.

Though music services like Spotify and Apple Music tend to garner the most attention in the tech press, it's sometimes easy to forget that Pandora is not only alive and kicking, but still extremely popular. Viewing the advertisement "unlocks" an ad-free Pandora Premium listening session which lasts until the user requests a different song, album, or playlist. But the company has a somewhat intriguing strategy to give those free users a taste of premium. "If you're not willing to pay, you just couldn't do that on Pandora", he said.

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The addition could keep Pandora's 72 million free and Plus users (who pay $5 a month) engaged in the service, and help convert some of those users into paying customers. "What we're excited about is delivering on that need and doing it for ad-supported listeners". You'll see an option to hear the track on-demand after watching a 15-second video ad. This includes uninterrupted listening, listening to any music they want, build playlists and queueing up songs.

Premium Access is now rolling out to ad-supported and Plus listeners on iOS and Android smartphones. He now lives in Philadelphia after stints in Boston and San Francisco.

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