Pandoras app redesign reflects how much the service has changed from its roots as a radio-like offering. Angela Lang/CNET Pandora redesigned its app Tuesday to better showcase how its evolved beyond the radio-like streaming-music service it started out as more than a decade ago.
The latest update adds more ways to tweak the kind of song Pandora plays next and introduces a main discovery feed that personalizes recommendations throughout the day, while it also highlights more formats like podcasts and SiriusXM content. As before, people who subscribe to Pandoras $10-a-month Premium tier can access all features and content.
The new app also makes it easier for people who arent Premium subscribers to access playlists and other exclusive content behind the paywall by surfacing the Premium Access option strategically, which lets you watch an ad to unlock a temporary Premium session. We have always leaned toward the app being drop-dead simple.
Thats always been our top design principle, but we did that almost to a fault, said Chris Phillips, Pandoras chief product officer and head of technology at SiriusXM and Pandora, in an interview last week. It was at the cost of people not knowing what weve got.Pandora was one of the pioneers of music streaming, and that early track record shaped its identity for years.
Its digital version of radio conformed to the rigid licensing rules and an adversarial music industry at the time. But streaming has become the main way that artists and record labels make money now, and that allowed newer competitors like Spotify and Apple Music to craft themselves from a different mold.
Pandora has changed with the times, too, offering many of the features that rivals do. But its app design didnt let listeners easily harness Pandoras complexity, according to Phillips. This redesign is Pandoras most significant step yet to change that, he said. Among the biggest additions are Modes for tweaking how a station curates itself, and a For You discovery feed in its bottom navigation bar.
Modes lets listeners define the style of recommendations in the station theyre listening to, tweaking the queue of upcoming song. You can, for example, adjust the mode of the station to have crowd favorites, or most-liked songs; tell it to focus on deep-cut hidden gems; or request a discovery mode that selects artists that arent normally played on that station.
You can also tell the station to stick to newly released material or limit itself to artist only, keeping the songs inside the catalog of the artist that the station is based on. The new For You section is a personalized feed that updates throughout the based on your listening history, day of the week and time of day.
.Its based on modules of recommendations, which can range from a single personalized hero recommendation with a big photo or piece of art, to simple graphic tiles that offer stations.....