What kind of music does Taco Bell like? Find out with Pandora ‘Promoted Stations’

Pandora
Internet radio-streamer Pandora  announced  that it has launched beta testing for “a new advertising solution.” Roughly 10 percent of the Oakland-based service’s 76 million monthly users are now being served “Promoted Stations,” native ad units designed to help advertisers drive Pandora listeners to custom content. The leading Internet radio service crafted the stations for ten national advertisers, and slips them into a listener’s “Stations You Might Like” list, in a fashion similar to that of Twitter’s “Who To Follow” feature.

Listeners who are part of the beta test will have these stations auto-populate, one station at a time, in the aforementioned list of suggested stations. Pandora says this “allows” users that might be looking around for their next favorite fix to consider a brand’s content alongside existing and other recommended stations. The service further asserts to have been initially inspired to create these Promoted Stations “after seeing increasing demand for custom content from advertisers.” This claim that users were asking for more ads feels like a stretch or twisting of facts, but it comes as little surprise. After all, most companies at least give off the impression that they make customer or user-centered decisions.

The ten advertisers for which Pandora created its Promoted Stations include Taco Bell, Sonos, Crown Royal, Skechers, Kleenex, StubHub and Toyota.

Within the last two months alone, a busy Pandora raised its subscription rates while blaming rising music royalties, smartly launched an iOS app for the Pebble smartwatch, and was sued by a handful of high-profile music labels over royalties for pre-1972 tracks.

For more on the leading Internet radio service, check out our guide comparing Spotify, Pandora and Grooveshark, as well as our close look at Spotify’s and Pandora’s mobile offerings.

Emerging Tech

Japanese taxis will use facial recognition to target you with ads as you ride

A Japanese startup is trying to reinvent in-taxi advertising by using facial recognition technology to identify the key characteristics of riders and then presenting them with appropriate ads.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2019, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR and much more.
Music

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. What's changed, and should you subscribe?

Thanks to Google, YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. We explain what exactly a YouTube Premium subscription gets you, how much it costs, and break down if it's a good choice for you.
Home Theater

Amazon’s free Spotify competitor is here. Just ask Alexa

Just ask Alexa to play your favorite song. Amazon has launched a free, ad-based music streaming service to compete with Spotify's free tier on its popular Echo devices, aiming to bolster subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited.
Deals

Get some bud-green Master and Dynamic wireless headphones for $50 off this 420

Looking for the best possible audio experience to pair with your favorite herb? Master and Dynamic has announced a special 420 edition of its gorgeous on-ear and over-ear headphones, which will be available for $50 off this 4/20.
Music

The best new music this week: Tallest Man On Earth, Cage the Elephant, and more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week: The Tallest Man On Earth, Cage The Elephant, Lizzo, Pivot Gang, and Sad Planets.
Home Theater

Dream on: The concert of the future is in Vegas, and Aerosmith leads the charge

Aerosmith has partnered with THX, L-Acoustics, 1More, and Mixhalo to provide fans with an unparalleled, tech-fueled concert experience for the band’s 50th anniversary. Here’s how this one concert series could shape the future of live…
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek forms, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

The best MP3 players of 2019 cram tons of music into a small package

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? Don't sweat it. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? No worries. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.
Home Theater

Get the most boom for your buck with the best headphones under $100

Everybody wants a bargain, and this list has a bunch. For those looking for a solid set of headphones without spending a big stack of cash, this list is is your starting point. Check out our picks for the best headphones under $100.
Home Theater

Amazon drops prices on Bose speakers and sound systems by up to 50%

Amazon knocked $220 off the price of two Bose 301-V Direct/Reflecting bookshelf loudspeakers, a 50% discount. The 301-Vs are suited for music or for home theater systems. Amazon's sale also includes the Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System.
Home Theater

Rock out, dance, or just nod along with the best Bluetooth speakers

The market is saturated with wireless audio solutions fit for any and all circumstances. Check out our picks for the best Bluetooth speakers available, whether you'll be listening in the kitchen or on a mountaintop.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Drone delivery OK’d, Aerosmith’s immersive concert, and more

Join DT Live as we discuss the FAA's approval of delivery drones, 3D-printing advances in prosthetics and bike helmets, geoengineering against climate change, identity management, Aerosmith's immersive THX concert, and more.
Home Theater

Roland’s Amazon-exclusive BTM-1 Bluetooth speaker doubles as a guitar amp

Roland, long known for its many digital instruments, has made an Amazon-exclusive Bluetooth speaker for musicians on the go. With a guitar cable input and overdrive effect, it might be the perfect portable rig for guitarists.