Will audio ads on Pandora help it swim back across the pond?

It won’t be popular, yet Pandora’s decision to introduce audio ads is almost certainly necessary to keep the service running and, therefore, something I welcome. Especially if it helps bring the service back to the UK.

Rolled out with little fanfare, besides an acknowledgment on the company’s Twitter feed, the music streaming service has started serving audio ads, reports TechCrunch. While they do interrupt the music, the ads are “fairly sparse”, says Jason Kincaid. And I’ll have to take his word for it.

That’s because, quite some time ago, Pandora stopped being accessible from the UK due to the difficulty and cost of licensing music from the major record labels, which, says the company, makes it prohibitively expensive to build a business around such a service. If selling audio ads — something that’s supported traditional commercial radio since its birth — helps keep Pandora afloat and bring it back to the UK, then I’m all for it.

For those that can’t stand the ads, there is, of course, also the option to pay an annual subscription of $36 per year, in the US at least, something I’d seriously consider paying it was offered here in the UK too. Even more so now that I can also access the service on my iPod touch (it’s in Apple’s top ten most downloaded iPhone apps of 08), along with a plethora of other devices, and will also be one of the first third-party applications to land on the new Palm Pre.

If you’re not familiar with Pandora, the service is based on the Music Genome Project, whereby a group of experts have analyzed the component parts or ‘genes’ of the musical works of over 10,000 artists. The result of which is that you can tell Pandora to create a radio station based on songs that have similar ‘genes’ to a chosen artist or track.

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

2 Responses to “Will audio ads on Pandora help it swim back across the pond?”

  1. Daniel says:

    So how do Last.fm manage to do it ? Do they just have a more restricted set of songs available to listen to ?

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