- Pandora updated its mobile app to personalize music recommendations and promote discovery, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. The new features come as the internet radio pioneer faces stronger competition from Spotify and Apple Music.
- Pandora's app now has a "For You" music feed of personalized recommendations that updates in real time, and "Pandora Modes," which previously were only available on its desktop version, to tweak the listening experience of favorite stations. The selections include "Discovery" to hear a broader selection of artists, "Artist Only" to let people focus on a single performer and "Crowd Faves" to activate a user's most-liked songs.
- The company also revamped the app's appearance, placing its navigation features at the bottom of mobile screens. Pandora introduced the updated app on iOS and Android, teasing continued updates throughout the remainder of the year.
Pandora's mobile update gives marketers a more targeted chance to reach listeners of the platform's ad-supported tier when they're selecting on-demand music and are most engaged with the app. The redesign makes Pandora function more like Spotify, the streaming audio platform whose key distinction was on-demand song tracks and customizable playlists, although Spotify also offers radio-like music feeds.
Pandora historically provided a "lean back" listening experience that let users listen to curated music feeds among a variety of genres and moods, although it did introduce some on-demand services in 2017. Many Pandora listeners are still unaware that they can search for and play songs on-demand, Chris Phillips, the head of technology at Pandora's parent company, SiriusXM, told Variety. This suggests that the marketing around the revamped app will include more clearly communicating its newer personalization-focused features.
The music-streaming platform's user base fell 9% to 64.9 million users in Q2 from a year earlier, dramatizing the need to update its app to compete with rivals like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music. Those platforms don't break out listenership data for the U.S., which is the only region where Pandora operates after shutting down service in Australia and New Zealand two years ago.
Among streaming services that charge a monthly fee for ad-free listening, Apple Music this year overtook Spotify Premium in the U.S. by paid subscribers, The Wall Street Journal reported. Citing anonymous sources, the Journal said Apple Music had more than 28 million subscribers by the end of February, compared with Spotify's 26 million. Pandora's redesigned app may help the company to compete more effectively for paid and non-paid listeners.