Pandora’s New ‘Artist Audio Message’ Foreshadows Shift Toward Adding Value and Functionality for Artists

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The future of music streaming platforms is all about adding features to help musicians connect with and monetize their fan base. Pandora is trying to edge out the competition and become a leader in this field.

On Wednesday, Pandora founder Tim Westergren announced the launch of a pilot test that will allow musicians to send personalized audio messages to its listeners. Dubbed “Artist Audio Messaging”, the service is currently open to just a few artists, but is expected to expand to all users in the future.

“An artist can record a short message to be injected into playlists based around their music. He or she could use it to tell fans in a specific city about an upcoming show, or simply thank them for listening. Pandora, which makes the majority of its $712 million in annual revenue from ads, has no plans to monetize this feature. It’s more of a way to curry favor with artists. “

Westergren hinted that this is the start for a whole customer relationship management, or CRM, platform for artists. The feature may be especially beneficial for smaller artists who don’t have the advertising budgets to promote their tours.

The news comes as Pandora faces more competition than ever from platforms such as iHeartRadio, Youtube, and Apple’s radio service. “We actually feel very good about our ability to compete,” Westergren said.

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