Pandora lets free users sample its on-demand service

Danny Woods
December 16, 2017

After watching that ad, free users will unlock the full premium experience for a limited amount of time, which means they'll be able to queue up any song they want, build playlists from Pandora's catalog, check out the company's new curated playlists and more.

So, how does it work? If you're a free user, you'll be presented with an offer to watch a 15-second ad when you search for a song, artist, or album, or when you click on a link Pandora has shared.

"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", he said. Spotify has a 25 percent conversion rate moving users from its ad-supported tier to its paid service; anything close to that for Pandora would be a major win. But the company has a somewhat intriguing strategy to give those free users a taste of premium.

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 lets free users sample its on-demand service

Pandora Premium is the service's $9.99-a-month, all-you-can-eat, premium subscription tier. No advertisements will play during your listening session, but if you search for something else and leave what you're now jamming out to, you'll need to watch another 15-second ad before proceeding. You'll see an option to hear the track on-demand after watching a 15-second video ad.

One further feature is likely to be of particular interest to artists. And while Pandora is also testing out different lengths of "unlock" time, Pandora Chief Product Officer Chris Phillips told Business Insider that these tests will be in the realm of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour.

The most annoying thing about free Pandora was that you couldn't immediately hear that new single from a music superstar. On mobile, Spotify's free users can only listen on "shuffle" mode (functionally similar to radio), and YouTube doesn't have the personalized radio DNA that Pandora does.

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