Pandora has just launched a comprehensive redesign that makes the streaming radio/music discovery service, like a backward-time-traveling grandparent, both prettier and more functional than before. The new look (which provides a bit more context for the company’s rising IPO this past summer) is available to all Pandora users and adds improvements like streamlined cross platform communication, bulked-up social networking features and more.
Although Pandora’s core functionality (recommending new music based on the analysis of a user’s tastes) remains the same, a generally simplified interface that improves on site aesthetics comes together with several new features to make the update worth looking into. The new site allows for more intensive social networking (profiles and feeds have both been redesigned for a more robust experience) and improved web-to-mobile transitioning, two elements that may help to keep users actively engaged in activities at the site that go beyond simply streaming a dynamic playlist.
The new site layout will be of particular interest to advertisers, the service now offering a set of features that allow for more comprehensive branding opportunities. Pandora, apparently designing with that oh-so-important advertisement-based revenue firmly in mind, now features the ability for ad campaign skinning of its client, full-screen advertisement video overlays and, of course, the ability to communicate with users through more fully integrated social networking. The Pandora redesign is also HTML5 based and gives potential advertisers a number of different methods for formatting their campaigns. Whether or not this new emphasis will alienate existing users will be shown with time. Overly intensive ad presence could take away from a quality user experience but, if Pandora’s designers are careful to limit saturation going forward the service should be able to keep its audience happy while still pulling in sufficient revenue.
Regardless of the aesthetic overhaul, Pandora remains one of the better options for music discovery currently available on the net. The Music Genome Project (the tech that Pandora uses to draw up relevant suggestions for other artists and songs based on the “seed” of a user’s initial playlist/song selection) is still as impressive as ever and worth looking into, especially for those who haven’t taken the service for a spin to date. The recent addition of comedy to its body of tunes (which we covered back in early May) further bolsters its available content.
By boosting revenue possibilities with advertisers while simultaneously providing users with a new look and a handful of useful features, Pandora may have struck the balance required for long-term success with its redesign. Considering its already healthy userbase and innovative recommendation software the relaunch should (in a just universe) help to fill up the company coffers and ensure Pandora’s success in a crowded social music marketplace.
The new design is already live so, if you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, head on over to the Pandora homepage. Unfortunately the service is (still!) only available within the United States, leaving our international friends to learn about new music the old-fashioned way — travelling by horse and carriage to new villages and talking with the locals.