Pandora adds audio ads

If you aren’t already familiar with it, you should check out Pandora. It’s a Flash-based free online music site that tailors a play list to what you like already. Start a personal radio station with three or four songs or artists you like and the site starts streaming songs with similar characteristics to you. As you listen, you can indicate songs you don’t like which should never be played again and songs you like enough to want to hear more like them. I’ve used the site off and on for a while (ever since reading about it over at Bill’s place) and have found a lot of music I really like this way. I’ve been remiss in not pointing any of my 6 regular visitors to Pandora before, but I’ve rectified that now.

With that all out of the way, news is out now that Pandora is testing out audio ads as part of the radio stream.

What formats for ads are you trying? (lengths, styles)

The only ad style we’re testing is NPR-style (“this station brought to you buy…”) The ad we’re running right now is 9 seconds. There are no current plans to test other styles or lengths.

How will Pandora make the final decision about how/how long/what type/which companies any eventual ad system will serve?

By listening to our listeners via support, our blog, and forums like the Digital Music Weblog. We pay a lot of attention to what our listeners have to say about all our decisions.

And I’ve found that to be true. Pandora seems very attuned to their customers. I’m sure there will be some uproar somewhere over this, but honestly I think it is good for companies providing great products (and believe me, I think Pandora really is excellent) to try finding ways to keep end-user costs down. This service has been free for a long time, does a great job of providing good music to listen to, has an easy to use interface, and very low personal information requirement to get started. I almost bought a paid subscription when Pandora first launched, because I think it is good enough a service to pay for. If the providers want to keep it free by running occasional ads, I’m all for that. I’m not like many ‘net-heads who believe everything should be free (as in beer).

[tags]Pandora online radio now streaming ads, Pandora testing ads to maintain free online radio service[/tags]