Latest Pandora App Makes Music More Social, Mobile
Pandora 4.0 adds a Feed and Profile section to the iPhone version.
Pandora Internet Radio’s latest version of its mobile app, released on Monday (Oct. 29), brings more features from its desktop Web experience to mobile devices — with a mind to make mobile listening more social and catch up to other services such as Spotify.
The new version, 4.0, is now available for free on iOS (and coming soon to Android). It brings a Feed section for following friends who use Pandora to see what they are listening to. The Feed makes it easy to listen to stations that friends create and to sample individual tunes they’ve liked. You can also see a friend’s Pandora profile page and edit your own profile from within the app.
If you’ve got something to say about a song that’s playing, your comment appears within your feed and goes out to anyone following you. You can also share comments to Facebook and Twitter.
These features have been available on the desktop browser-based version of the service, but the new app makes them available from the iPhone. Oddly, the iPad version didn’t receive the interface updates, so you can’t access the Feed or Profile sections. The company says an Android app should be available “in the coming weeks.”
Redesigned artist pages help you learn about a musician or band and find similar artists. You can also leave comments about the musician and see what other people have to say. In addition to lyrics, track pages now show the attributes of the song — components of the "music genome" that Pandora uses to create stations of style. For “Love Me or Leave Me” by jazz saxophonist Lester Young, Pandora lists features of the track as “bop influences,” “a swing dancin’ style” and “a great tenor sax solo.” My Morning Jacket’s “Wordless Chorus” had features such as “intricate melodic phrasing” and “major key tonality.”
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The updated app pushes Pandora’s free mobile experience ahead of competitor Spotify, which launched free iOS and Android apps in July that offers personalized radio and ties in to Spotify’s free desktop software. But Spotify’s app doesn’t provide as many social music features as Pandora’s latest version, such as seeing what stations friends are listening to, and it lacks the depth of information about artists and tracks.
Pandora was a pioneer of digital music streaming services, launching in 2000, but in recent years has faced increased competition from streaming music services such as Spotify and Rdio. Microsoft launched Xbox Music, its free streaming music service, earlier in October, and rumors persist that Apple plans to create its own streaming music service next year.
Pandora’s updated app shows the company is still ahead of the game when it comes to the mobile experience, adding social features and other improvements that push it past the newer services.