Pandora Changes Its Tune: Music Platform Makes Some Major Changes

musicPandora is definitely facing the music. The innovative and creative music platform has decided it will give its advertising clients new options — like letting brands sponsor playbacks and skips, as well as allowing offline listening by dedicated subscribers.

The changes affect both Pandora’s subscription-based and ad-supported platforms.

“The company announced it’s rebranding the classic Pandora One subscription model as Pandora Plus, an improved $4.99 option that will allow listeners to have as many as four music channels available offline, when users might want to listen without having internet access,” reports AdWeek’s Marty Swant.

This announcement follows news from Pandora that the music streaming service has inked direct licensing deals with several major music labels, including Merlin Network, Sony Music, and Universal Music Group.

“You’ll be able to go on a run, or a cross-country commute on a plane or a train commute in a tunnel and never lose Pandora,” said Lizzie Widhelm, Pandora’s SVP of ad product strategy.

It’s a pretty cool set-up.

“The “predictive offline mode” notices when internet connection is cut and automatically caches three of the stations a user listens to the most,” explained Swant. “The offline mode will also cache a user’s Thumbprint station, which is based on songs they’ve given a thumbs up.”

As for the free, ad-supported version of Pandora, the company will now allow brands to sponsor playbacks and additional skips: in exchange for watching a 15-second ad, users will be able to listen to a song again or skip more of those they don’t like.

The ultimate benefit to advertisers? More happy customers of the platform — and ultimately more of the kind of flexibility that takes the sting out of advertising breaks.

“The updates to allow for offline could also be a big boost for gaining ground in the mobile space,” notes Swant. “More than 85 percent of users’ total listening hours come from mobile devices.”

Pandora now boasts 78 million total active monthly listeners in the U.S. About 3.9 million are paying subscribers.