The Driving Force Behind Pandora’s New Genre Stations

Pandora, the darling of the US online radio marketplace, recently rolled out genre stations – format based listening channels that enable fans to simply choose a channel and listen to a professionally programmed stream of music. The channels have been in the background for a while but have recently been given more prominence online. Apparently, Pandora is finding out that some listeners want the simple option. Interactivity may be too much work for some listeners.

“I think there’s a huge percentage of the population that will always love what the Pandora brand stands for, which is an approach where you start with some artist names and song votes and build your own channel.” says Kurt Hanson, Founder and CEO of AccuRadio, an Internet radio service that offers channels that emphasize professional programming and some, but less interactivity. “But there’s another segment of the market — an older segment, more mainstream  — that will prefer an approach that doesn’t take as much effort.”

A factor that may be driving Pandora’s new promotion of “genre stations” is the prospect of Internet radio in cars. Pandora has b een leading the industry into automobiles, announcing deals with  Ford, Pioneer and Alpine this year. In car listening is the final frontier for Internet radio – the place where broadcast radio dominates and lots of folks tune in. It remains a huge untapped potential for audience growth for Pandora and other Internet radio stations.

In order to maximize that opportunity, Internet radio must be easy to listen to while driving.  While it might be fun to build playlists by typing in favorite artists, and giving thumbs up and down to songs, that’s not something that people are able to do while keeping their eyes on the road. It may well be that cars are exactly what’s driving the creation of Pandora’s new genre stations…

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One response

  1. It may be that in-car usage is driving this change away from their highly touted music genome project but it is also quite possible that users get tired of “messing with” Pandora on a regular basis and want their hits fed to them like radio does it.

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