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.