Users of Pandora’s Free tier Can Listen to On-Demand Content by Watching an Ad

Pandora, like Spotify and a few others, has an option for a free tier, which allows folks to listen to music that’s interspersed with advertisements.

But Pandora has just announced a pretty important change for the free tier users under its banner. The company revealed that it will let users listen to on-demand content if they opt to watch a 15-second advertisement beforehand. With this in place, users will be able to search for a specific song, an artist, or album, and then choose to listen to it. Before it starts, though, that 15-second ad will start playing.

You will need to watch the whole thing if you want to actually listen to the song/album/artist you selected.

“Our ad-supported listeners’ top request has consistently been the ability to directly play the specific songs, albums, or playlists they want,” said Roger Lynch, President & CEO, Pandora. “These new features address that need by marrying rewards-based advertising with the best-in-class on-demand experience we’ve created with Pandora Premium. This unrivaled experience will drive listeners to Pandora and drive awareness for Premium, while also creating new opportunities for artists, labels, publishers and advertisers.”

Up to this point, Pandora’s free tier worked like a radio, in that users could only create a radio station based on a genre of music, an artist, or other specific elements. Once the station was created, it was possible that the song they wanted to hear would pop up in the rotation, but there wasn’t anything the user could do to actually hear it on the spot when they wanted.

Unsurprisingly, this is a move to get more free Pandora users to be aware of Pandora Premium, the option that costs $9.99 per month and offers the standard on-demand listening experience that is offered by the likes of Apple Music and Spotify. The official announcement doesn’t explicitly say how many times a user will have to watch the 15-second ads, either, if they want to keep using the on-demand features.

It’s worth noting that Pandora actually has another plan option, Pandora Plus, that retails for $4.99 per month. It offers the ability to skip tracks as many times as the user wants, as well as the ability to replay a song as often as the user wants, but it doesn’t have any on-demand features. Plus subscribers will be able to watch a 15-second video to access on-demand features, too.

What do you think of this new idea?

[via Pandora]

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