Apparently a new Windows Phone 8 app wasn’t the only thing Pandora had up its sleeve for Monday.
The company has updated its iOS and Android mobiles apps to version 4.0, which includes new social features to help users track what their friends are doing and discover new music. The update, said by Pandora to be the most drastic since landing on smartphones, should make the experience consistent across devices.
The old version of the Pandora mobile app was pretty limited in what you could do. It allowed you to listen to all your smart stations, but customizing those stations felt somewhat limited. The new version gives you lots of options to add variety to a smart station, change the name of that station, or share it with friends.
There also wasn’t much emphasis given to the individual user’s identity. With version 4.0, Pandora changes that. You can now edit your profile, view bookmarked songs, and keep track of followers. Below that is an activity feed, which does pretty much exactly what you think it would — logging all your actions on Pandora.
Beyond the updated user interface tweaks, probably the biggest addition to Pandora version 4.0 is the new music feed tab. You need to connect to Facebook to access this functionality, which is a shame for me because I don’t consider the bulk of my Facebook friends as the group of people I look to for song/band recommendations. Anyways, the app functions a lot like Spotify’s Facebook sharing feature, aggregating all your friend activity and showing you what’s popular.
Pandora said it now has 175 register users, 115 million of which access the service on the smartphone apps. This number isn’t nearly as interesting as the monthly active users and listening hours that the company releases routinely during quarterly earnings reports. Still, it’s trying to drive home the point that mobile is an important access to the business, which I think is pretty obvious to anyone making attention to the tech/music world.
And speaking of business, Pandora is trying to drum up as much of it as possible to support those hefty music licensing fees that keep the company from turning a profit. Along with its announcement of version 4.0, Pandora also said it’s partnering with four companies (McDonald’s, Nike, Sony Pictures, and State Farm) on some deep marketing campaigns, which presents users with “sponsor tips and information.” Those campaigns should roll out in a future Pandora app update in the next few weeks, according to the company.
Pandora 4.0 for iOS is available Monday for free on Apple App Store, while the new Android version should debut in the coming weeks.
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