Pandora Launches Stories, Allowing Artists to Add Commentaries onto Playlists

SiriusXM continues to reshape Pandora’s identity.

Yesterday, Pandora updated a key feature.

Departing from its previous Thumbs Up/Down recommendation system, the digital radio service unveiled six new listening ‘Modes.’

The changes signaled the company’s focus on new trends in music usage.  Users can now use a more customized recommendation engine instead of the traditional one-size-fits-all approach.

This new feature came just weeks after SiriusXM formed a new team at Pandora.

The latter’s dedicated original content team will create original music, sports, and talk content for current listeners.  This includes the introduction of new full-time channels, shows, podcasts, playlists, and spoken-word content.

In addition, the new team will develop original content for SiriusXM, including adding curated content using the digital radio service’s user data.  The new initiative could see the satellite radio company personalities, including Ricky Gervais and Jenny McCarthy, appearing on Pandora podcasts.

Now, Pandora has unveiled a new ‘sound,’ so to speak.

Going sonic.

In a new marketing campaign ‘refresh,’ Pandora has unveiled a sonic logo.  The goal is to create an instantly recognizable audio identity, one that distinguishes Pandora from an increasingly crowded streaming space.

The ‘Sound On’ campaign will run in six markets for 12 weeks.  With the new three-second auditory logo, the company hopes consumers will quickly identify its brand.

Pandora executives conducted extensive research for the new campaign.  Commissioning 20 composers and sound designers, the logo aims to be energetic, innovative, friendly, and inviting.  The digital radio service chose one out of 200 possible sonic logos.

Of course, we’ve seen this concept before by some of the largest brands in the world.  Apple and Microsoft quickly come to mind, which raises the question: why aren’t music platforms like Pandora doing more of this?

Speaking about the sonic marketing campaign, Lauren Nagel, the company’s Vice President and Executive Creative Director, explained,

Our previous campaign centered on the idea that music and sound can help you escape a mundane physical space, and we received a ton of engagement around this concept.  For this iteration, we doubled down on the idea of content in context, focusing on the amplification of spring energy and the spirit of discovery.

In the US, the campaign will run in San Francisco, Oakland, Atlanta, New York, Miami, and Nashville.  Artists, including the Jonas Brothers, 2 Chainz, and Becky G, will appear in the campaign.  Pandora will also have a ‘robust’ digital presence across social media platforms and Hulu, Vox Media, and Group Nine Media.

In addition, the campaign will also include outdoor placements in Times Square, the Oculus, the Nashville Sign, and Oracle Arena, among other places.  Users may also hear the three-second jingle upon opening the Pandora app.