Pandora is delving deeper into personalized content with the launch of Thumbprint Radio, which creates streams of music based on the songs you’ve thumbed up.
Pandora has always streamed music based on a chosen artist or song. Within those playlists, users can mark songs they like or don’t like with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Now Pandora is turning all those thumbs-up you’ve accrued over the years into a unique station.
The service takes into account all of your thumbs-ups, not just your most recent likes, which could infuse your music stream with songs you liked ten years ago. In addition to songs you like, Pandora will also add in songs it thinks you will like. The company promises that Thumbprint won’t be like listening to a bizarre shuffle of your favorite songs. Rather, Pandora says its team of curators will lead you through each genre “seamlessly.”
You can also share your individual Thumbprint Radio station with others. Pandora says that once your friend receives the station, it will be updated according to their tastes — in effect, creating a new, personalized station. What’s more, these stations don’t count against Pandora’s 100-station limit.
This move comes as Spotify is encroaching on Pandora’s lead. Additional competitors like Tidal, Apple Music, and others are also eating away at Pandora’s slice of the market. Pandora is still ahead of Spotify in terms of number of listeners, but it has far fewer paid listeners.
Though the company is growing revenues, it’s also spending more on marketing than ever before to maintain consumer awareness. To offset those costs, Pandora is trying to diversify revenues and find new ways to bring value to listeners.
After Rdio filed for bankruptcy last month, Pandora scooped up its assets for $75 million in hopes of bolstering its own ad-supported service. To bring in more users, the company signed a deal to host Seasons 1 and 2 of popular podcast Serial on its platform and launched an app on Apple TV. It also created a new $1 day pass that offers ad-free streaming for 24 hours, to capture interest from casual listeners.
Whether these efforts will deliver more users — or more importantly, more paying users — is yet to be seen.