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Pandora lets free users trial its on-demand music streaming

Tim Maytom

Music streaming service Pandora is enabling free users to access its premium, on-demand service for a limited time in return for watching a 15-second video ad. Pandora's ad-supported free model allows users to pick music channels based on genre or a single artist, but doesn't enable them to select individual tracks, build playlists or access other premium features.

Pandora Premium launched over a year ago, and was intended to compete with the likes of Apple Music and Spotify, but has so far failed to draw in many subscribers from Pandora's overall pool of users. The company also offers Pandora Plus, an ad-free version of its standard platform for $5 a month, with the full version of Pandora Premium costing users $9.99 a month.

With the new free trial, users can search for a specific song, album or playlist. They are then offered the chance to watch an ad in order to listen on Pandora Premium.

"We're serving up the most personalised listening experience by letting you lean in to listen to music on-demand, or lean back and let us take over with recommendations unique just to you," said a Pandora spokesperson in a blog post announcing the new feature. "With these new features, Pandora now offers the best mobile solution for music-lovers seeking an on-dmeand listening experience, whether you watch an ad or pay for a subscription."

The new feature will be available to users on both iOS and Android devices, and begins rollout today. The company has not revealed how long the free preview of Premium will last, but has confirmed that it is A/B testing different times currently.