Pandora adds commercials

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 10, 2007
Updated • May 25, 2013

Pandora streams music over the Internet just like many other services that do the very same thing. It is Internet radio, but unlike other services that you can only listen to passively, it enables you to create custom radio streams based on artists, bands, songs or genres that you are interested in.

The basic idea of Pandora is to match what you enter with music that is similar to it as it increases the likelihood that you like the music that is playing (and that you stay tuned in).

The service has a music discovery component to it because of that, as you may discover new songs and artists because of that feature. It is highly likely that you do not know all the songs or artists that is playing.

The service was completely free until now.Pandora decided to add advertisement to its service. While that is certainly understandable from a business perspective, considering that you not only need money to power the service's hardware but also to maintain and improve the service, and pay rights-holders, it came still somewhat unexpected to users of the service.

According to Pandora's CTO Tom Conrad about 10% of users will have to listen to a nine second ad once a day. It appears that Pandora is testing the waters with the implementation to see how its audience reacts to the ads.

If few users complain about the ads they may introduce themto all listeners and probably even increase the amount of ads that are played each day or increase the length of ads instead.

I personally think that it is not such a big problem if you compare it to terrestrial radio stations for instance. It could become one if they would decided to increase the ad ratio or length of the advertisement that they play to the user.

One should also consider that websites that offer such services have to generate money somehow to pay the bills for servers, bandwidth and service.

A alternative would be which can also be used to get new suggestions. What is your opinion on the matter?


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  1. JM Bake00 said on January 10, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    Just like good ole Boz Scaggs said —can somebody loan me a dime, it’s time to pay the fiddler!!

  2. hornswaggled said on January 10, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Yeah I heard my first add a few days ago. I posted about it and still haven’t decided what I think. I don’t want the service to go away but Im not sure how I like the idea of my relaxing station playing some blaring ad for whomever.

  3. Robert said on January 10, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    I think it’s ok.

    I use Pandora at work. And I get the commercial (so far I get a McDonalds ad) once a day when I change between the stations I have programmed.

    It doesn’t bother me yet. But in Launch (Yahoo service) I don’t use it, because their ads are 30-45 sec long and they are repetitive every 8 songs or so. That way it does gets annoying.

    Yahoo Launch: Better than normal radio

    Pandora: Better than Launch.

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