Pandora Extends On-Demand Listening to 'Freemium' Listeners With Video Ads

Joanna Estrada
December 15, 2017

During the session, listen to uninterrupted music in the background of your mobile device while on-the-go and multi-tasking with Pandora's intuitive and easy-to-navigate mobile app.

According to a press release, the company is offering access to music on-demand without a subscription: For the first time, listeners can search and play songs, albums, and playlists by viewing a single 15-second ad to unlock a complimentary session of Premium. There are no ads during playback after you watch that initial video, but if you search for a new piece of content within the app or click on an email or social media link for a specific album or track, you'll have to watch a video ad before you can play it. Watch the ad, and you'll be able to stream that music on-demand, without ads interrupting your listening. After all, this is definitely a play to tempt ad-supported and Plus members into shelling out for a Premium subscription, which costs $9.99 per month.

Launched earlier this year, Pandora Premium is the music service's answer to Spotify and Apple Music.

Pandora's impressive user base aside, the streaming site's financial woes remain an ongoing concern as the company has been losing money for quite some time now. Pandora doesn't say how long your Premium session will last after each ad, but we probably shouldn't expect it to be substantially long. However, the company believes that this new feature is also meant for users who don't even feel the need to pay for Premium just to play a specific song or album.

Pandora says the new features will begin rolling out to users today. All users on the free tier as well as Pandora Plus users can now take advantage of this. "If you're not willing to pay, you just couldn't do that on Pandora", product officer Chris Phillips told Engadget. This is a new experience for non-Premium customers and presumably is being offered in an effort to boost the company's Premium subscribers; a rep for the company said it has negotiated a competitive royalty rate with its label partners. Prior to that, Pandora only allowed users to listen to radio stations that are based on artists and songs they liked.

That's why it makes sense for the company to double down on advertising as a way to convert users to Premium listeners - or, at least, generate additional ad revenue by tapping into users' interest in listening on-demand. "What we're excited about is delivering on that need and doing it for ad-supported listeners".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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