Pandora's One Day Pass Gives You Ad-Free Listening for a Buck
Pandora is trying out a new play to help you eliminate ads.
Pandora on Thursday will launch Pandora One Day Pass, which will let you temporarily eliminate ads without signing on for a monthly subscription plan.
In the settings menu, choose "Day Pass" under Pandora One, the company's paid music-listening service, which will offer 24-hour, ad-free access to Pandora for $1.
Pandora, which is celebrating its 10th birthday with all-day ad-free listening today, was one of the first major music-streaming providers, allowing users to curate their playlists by giving songs a thumbs up or thumbs down. A thumbs up told Pandora's algorithm to find similar songs to play. A thumbs down meant that song shouldn't be played again.
While Pandora is still a major force in the streaming space—it has nearly 80 million listeners logging on to its service each month—it has been eclipsed in recent months by competitors Spotify and Apple Music, which have garnered far more attention. Apple Music is the newest entrant into the space, offering users not only human-curated track-listening, but also 24/7 live radio broadcasts. Spotify, like Pandora, allows for both ad-supported and ad-free music listening.
The issue for Pandora is that it's yet to turn a profit. In the first six months of 2015, the company lost over $64 million on $516 million in revenue. Pandora lost $30.4 million in all of 2014, despite generating $920.8 million in revenue.
A key component in improving its business is to get more customers to pay for Pandora One, which ditches ads and includes more track skips. Pandora One costs $5 per month, but unlike its rivals, doesn't offer on-demand music listening for millions of tracks.
Pandora is pitching its One Day Pass as an opportunity for users to listen to tracks while hanging out at a party, though it may be hoping to condition them to pay for Pandora One. After five days of listening, after all, it makes more sense to pay $5 for a full month of ad-free listening, rather than $1 for each session.