“Please don’t stop the music” isn’t just a Rihanna lyric — it’s now a command that Pandora has begun to obey. On Thursday, June 8, the streaming service announced a new feature for its Premium customers (which is to say, those who pay to listen to their music ad-free). It’s called AutoPlay, and it “keeps the music playing so the tunes you love never need to stop.” Whether you’re listening on an iOS or Android device, AutoPlay will let you “effortlessly switch from on-demand to lean-back listening that is completely personalized and unique to you.”
Basically, it means that when your selected song, playlist, or album ends on Pandora Premium, the music won’t just stop. Instead, AutoPlay will take over, playing music that is somehow related to what you were just listening to. Really, it’s the bread and butter of Pandora’s functionality — figuring out what you’ll likely enjoy listening to based on what you’re already listening to. “Whether you’re hosting a party, working out at the gym, road tripping, or any other activity, the soundtrack to your life will continue playing,” Pandora says.
But is this really enough to convince folks that it is worth it to pay the $10 a month Premium costs? It could be, if you consider, as Variety has, the fact that AutoPlay effectively allows Pandora to bypass exclusive album deals, and also share music that is supposedly Apple or Tidal exclusive. As Variety explains, “The moment an album ends and Pandora transitions to a personalized radio stream, the licensing terms for that music also change. This allows Pandora to effectively play any song, regardless of whether it has the rights to serve up that song on-demand or not.”