Pandora celebrates 10 years in business with a full day without ads

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In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Pandora will give its throngs of ad-based listeners a day off this month. On September 9, the service will offer all listeners a full 24 hours without ads. Pandora is calling its little holiday #listenerloveday.

While the veteran streaming service famous for its thumbs up/thumbs down algorithm has seen the streaming industry undergo plenty of changes since its official launch in 2005, it remains one of the most-popular streaming services in existence, with an impressive 80 million active users. According to the service, since launch listeners have streamed 74 billion hours of music on Pandora, rated over 55 billion songs, and created 8 billion stations.

As Variety notes, the service actually launched in 2000 under the name Savage Beast Technologies. That’s also when the streamer began its “Music Genome Project” which breaks down music into genre, style, tempo, mood, and instrumentation characteristics. Although the service was originally planned to support other online services with its data, the company decided to launch its own online radio service instead, and in 2005, Pandora was born.

“The company has grown in every way, from a hardscrabble team of 20 to an 1800 person organization,” said Pandora founder Tim Westergren to TechCrunch. “… But as much as our team has evolved, the heart of our team at Pandora has continued to be our musicologists… The Music Genome Project remains the core differentiator for us — more than 57 years of music has been analyzed and our team of musicologists has cataloged more than 375 million individual traits to capture their musical footprint.”

Listener Love Day will be costly for the streamer. As the company expects to gross $310 million in revenue this quarter, Fortune estimates that Pandora will lose $4.3 million in ad revenue from the one-day promotion. However, while the ad-less day seems to be a lovely gift to users on the surface, when it comes to music streaming, there’s always a deeper motivation. Pandora is no doubt hoping at least some users will see the benefits ad-free listening and decide to cough up the very manageable fee of $5 per month for Pandora One to do away with the incessant interruptions.

As for the future of Pandora, Westergren told TechCrunch that his streaming service will be focusing on developing working musicians’ careers. “The odds of success for any musician are incredibly low,” he said. “We’re going to use the power of the unprecedented marketing and promotions platform to change those odds.”


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