Just ahead of the launch of Facebook’s much anticipated music service, Internet radio service Pandora has unveiled a slick new HTML5 website and removed the cap on how much music free users can stream each month.
“In late 2010 we started with a clean sheet of paper, challenging ourselves to create a new Internet radio experience that was fast, social and easy while still being familiar to the tens of millions of people that listen to Pandora each month,” Pandora CTO Tom Conrad wrote in a blog post. “The result is ‘New Pandora’.”
Streaming music services have been making quite a few headlines as of late with the hyped U.S. launch of Spotify, the aforementioned Facebook service and MOG and Rdio offering free versions of their services. With such a crowded field, Pandora has decided to reinvent its site and the way users experience music in hopes of keeping people coming back.
The new HTML5 version of Pandora looks much cleaner and more modern than its old implementation. Look at the above photo and you can see the easy-to-access play controls on top and colorful high-res album art in the center. One click on the left-hand column changes your artist, song or genre-created radio station. Another helpful feature shows lyrics below the song information.
There are also new social features included in the redesign that help with music discovery. You now have enhanced profiles and access to a music feed that lets you see what your friends and like-minded members are listening to. Stations will also now have their own URLs, which make them easier to share on social networks.
Along with the redesign, Pandora has thankfully removed the 40-hour streaming cap that used to plague all non-paid users. Still, to get the most out of the service, users have to pay for a premium Pandora One account. A premium account costs $36 a year, removes advertising and lets users listen to higher-quality audio.
What do you think of the new Pandora layout and site changes?