Pandora is doubling down on personalization and revamping its app in order to better compete with rivals like Spotify and Apple Music. Today, the company is introducing a new mobile experience which includes a dedicated “For You” tab where a continually updated feed of content is presented to users, including both music and podcast recommendations and more. This content is personalized to the individual, based on factors like the day of the week, the time of day, and Pandora’s predictions about your mood, among other things.
The new personalized feed will also help the company to better showcase more of its exclusive content — like its music-and-podcast combos, called “Pandora Stories,” for example. Or the dozens of SiriusXM talk shows that became Pandora podcasts, following its acquisition.
“Our listeners have told us that they love the utility of Pandora — it’s drop-dead easy, it works, it knows me, It’s really simple,” explains Pandora’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Phillips. “But what they haven’t been able to understand and have easy enough access to is all the content and programming that we have available on Pandora — the new content, new programming, and the unique content that you can’t get other places,” he says.
The For You tab aims to change that by turning Pandora’s personalization capabilities onto its broader catalog and exclusives, then crafting a scrollable feed with dozens of ways to listen.
Here, you’ll be able to tap into Pandora Modes, for example, which is a new way to listen to Pandora Stations. The feature was previously available on the web, and has now come to mobile for the first time with today’s launch.
Pandora Modes let you toggle between ways to customize your stations. You can opt for modes that will tweak the station to play things like the most popular songs (“crowd faves”), the deep cuts, new releases, artist-only tracks, and more. You can also opt for a “discovery” mode to have Pandora introduce you to new artists you may like, as related to the station in question.
Another section in the For You tab lets you browse by categories, including by genre, by new music, podcasts, moods, playlists, decades and by trending.
The “Moods & Activities” section, meanwhile, will present collections of music based on current trends — for example, one of the available “moods” is “fall” and another could be “rainy day,” matched up with the day’s weather. You can also dig into this section for moods to match your activity, like workout, gaming, studying, family time, and more.
As you scroll down the For You page, you’ll come across your podcast recommendations and personalized playlists. And Pandora can create some 80 different versions of the latter, which include playlists by moods, activities, genres, and more all powered by its Music Genome.
Plus, the combined Pandora and SiriusXM editorial team of around 25 creates hundreds of human-curated playlists, too.
In total, there are some 35 different modules in Pandora’s new For You feed, some of which are shown to every user while others appear dynamically based on time of day and day of week. Its suggestions will also be tailored to your own likes and interests, thanks to your own listening behavior and explicit signals, like thumbs up and thumbs down.
That means your For You tab will be unique to you, and you can later be targeted with specific promotions — like the content to emerge from that deal between SiriusXM/Pandora and Drake, for example, if relevant to your interests. (Hey, it’s better than that time when Spotify put Drake’s face on every playlist.)
Despite the personalization, the feed will still include some insights powered by the larger Pandora population, so you can see what’s popular and trending more broadly across the service.
In time, Pandora plans to roll out even more modules to build out the experience further.
“100 billion thumbs are what’s powering all this,” adds Phillips, speaking of Pandora’s recent milestone, which measured the number of thumbs up and down clicks from users. Until now, he says, Pandora “hadn’t really brought together the community…and the power of our personalization, but not just for stations — for all the playlists, albums, songs, and artists,” Phillips continues. “And then the idea that we lay on top of all of this…the idea of what time of day it is, and what might be interesting based on what we predict your mood is right now,” he says.
The “For You” tab and other features are arriving today on Pandora for iOS and Android.