Pandora has a new Premieres station, sponsored by T-Mobile, that lets users listen to full albums a week before they launch. Think of it as a way to drum up hype in new music, to gauge user interest and also get a feel for listener habits. In the wake of increasing competition from other services, Premieres is actually a pretty sweet way to hear upcoming music before its officially out.
“Radio stations used to play a record all the way through,” said Pandora CEO Tim Westergren. “You’d anticipate that eagerly. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do.”
Unlike Pandora’s current licensing model, the service is directly working with music labels, similar to how Spotify and Rhapsody approach their own business deals. That means listeners can skip a track an unlimited amount of times, and even listen to a particular track as much as they want within the Premieres radio station. Unfortunately, once that album is officially released, it’ll no longer be available through Pandora’s service.
Wastergren said the station will offer both well-known and emerging artists, and arrive on the service up to a week before that album hits in the U.S. The approach puts more control into the hands of a user, and more closely follows Spotify’s popular on-demand method, or even Google’s recent All Access.
For starters, Pandora Premieres is giving early access to new albums from John Fogerty and Laura Marling. The new station is available to both ad-supported and paying members, and is accessible by searching for “Pandora Premieres” in the search box.