Premium subscribers will still retain the exclusive ability to create custom playlists and download songs for offline listening, and by giving Plus and free users a taste of what a Premium subscription has to offer, Pandora is likely hoping they'll get more people to hand over the $9.99/month premium.
So, how does it work?
Shares of Pandora Media Inc. rose 3% in Friday morning trading after the company announced that it would allow users of its ad-supported radio service to play songs on demand, in exchange for watching a 15-second video advertisement.
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. Watch the ad, and you'll be able to stream that music on-demand, without ads interrupting your listening.
Spotify won the right to continue offering ad-supported ('free') on-demand listening to users earlier this year when it signed fresh global licensing deals with the likes of Universal, Sony and Warner. Depending on the advertiser, the videos can be up to 30 seconds in length, though you can skip the video ad after 15 seconds are up.
Would you sit through an ad to have the ability to listen to the song you want - on demand? For the first listen, users will get an audio interstitial explaining that they're getting preview of the premium experience.
To clarify, you don't have to pay to use Pandora, but choosing the free tier means you can only create personalized stations. This new feature is a huge step up from their previous platform as a listener was only able to pick an artist that would lead to an infinitely customized playlist. "If you're not willing to pay, you just couldn't do that on Pandora", product officer Chris Phillips told Engadget. If you want to give Pandora a whirl, you can do so at the link below. Without Pandora, the ideas for Spotify and so forth may not have ever even gestated.