Pressured Pandora Is Readying This New Weapon

Maybe Pandora (NYSE:P) is a bit upset about Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) stepping in on its turf. A new service on Pandora could quickly settle things, as Pandora premieres “Pandora Premieres.”

The new Pandora station is a shift from the way the company has done things in the past, as it is more about users seeking out full albums from particular artists, rather than having music shuffled around like on traditional radio stations.

Pandora Chief Executive Officer Tim Westergren said, “Radio stations used to play a record all the way through. You’d anticipate that eagerly. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do.” The new station is aimed at putting new albums out for users to listen to from beginning to end, but that’s not all.

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“Pandora Premieres” will allow users to listen to a new album up to a week before its actual release. Users can listen as much as they want, to whichever songs they want, in whatever order they want, up until the day the album is officially released. This could prove a big draw for users, artists, and record labels alike.

For users, the draw is clear. While lots of online radio stations would make it hard to get a full album experience — as there would then be little incentive to ever buy the whole album — “Pandora Premieres” will give users an opportunity to have a complete listening experience. On top of that, getting to hear an album before its officially released is as good a reason as any for users to checkout the new services.

For artists and record labels, it’s a great opportunity to get some extra exposure and hype before the release of an album. Of course, putting an album on the air before the launch does open it up for a bit of pre-release pirating, but it could still work more in the favor of the record companies and artists if the piracy isn’t too rampant.

This is an opportunity for Pandora to swiftly kick back Google’s Google Music All Access service. It will also be a push against the constant competition from rivals Spotify, Rhapsody, and Rdio. Pandora has wasted no time getting the service out there, as it already has two albums available for listening.

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T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) could also be getting a bit of a sweet deal out of this, as it is the sponsor of the new station. The mobile carrier will see a lot of spotlight on the service, and it could drive more business if the station gets a lot of traffic.

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