Pandora has a new feature designed to further personalize the music you listen to. The streaming music service today launched Browse, which not only serves up artists and stations you’re interested in, but also helps you discover new ones.
But here’s the catch: Browse is only available for the iPhone in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. An Android version is coming “soon.”
“Finding new music should be a simple and enjoyable experience,” Pandora’s chief product officer, Chris Phillips, said. “The new Browse feature makes it easy to find the music you love, whether you know what you want or need a little help discovering music you didn’t know existed.”
Until today, Pandora offered limited personalization based on your reaction to existing songs and artists (e.g. thumbs up or down). Browse is now extending that capability further to include stations. “Sometimes you have no clue what you want to listen to and based off of your musical tastes, we can now recommend artist, genre, or mood based stations that we know you’ll love as a result of all your thumbs,” Phillips told VentureBeat in an email.
Browse includes analytics to tell you how many people are listening to your favorite artist or are subscribed to a particular station. This data could also help Pandora determine whether a station is popular or not and if there’s really mainstream traction for a specific artist’s music.
This release comes a few weeks after Pandora announced the acquisition of “key assets” of Rdio for $75 million. Phillips denied that any of Rdio’s technology was included in Browse but added: “We do see tremendous opportunities to unlock the combined value of Ticketfly, Next Big Sound, and Rdio in our listener products.”
Helping people discover new music is the core service offered by services like Pandora, but Browse’s capability could also give Pandora a chance to gather more data about your listening habits and find ways to translate that into real-life events, powered by Ticketfly. And while services like Spotify may offer weekly discovery, Pandora helps you discover entire new playlists, which can change as often as you like, thereby introducing you to a great deal more music.
Pandora also has unveiled a new look and feel to its app, designed to make accessing and listening to music easier. Listeners can find out what’s playing just by tapping on the screen. There’s also a new “fly-out menu” in the top left corner of the screen that lists stations, your feed, profile, and settings. What’s more, your stations are now listed alphabetically or by recent listens. Lastly, the artist pages have been redesigned so you can form a deeper connection with your favorites.
When asked about the aesthetic changes, Phillips replied: “Simplicity is a feature. The mobile app refresh that accompanies Browse elevates simplicity so that the addition of Browse doesn’t disorient listeners or crowd the experience. Moving the navigation to the fly-out menu makes room for the mini player, which we feel is essential while Browsing. But in the process we were careful to be sure that navigation remains strictly optional – any listener can play music, change stations, search and discover new music without having to navigate.”