Pandora’s ‘Sponsored Listening’ rewards ad interactions with commercial-free playback


After a pilot of its new “Sponsored Listening” advertisements last year, streaming music service Pandora Radio announced today that it’s rolling out the feature to all advertisers and listeners in its mobile apps. The feature rewards users with an hour of ad-free, uninterrupted listening as long as they first interact with an ad for at least 15 seconds.

Pandora says listeners and advertisers responded positively to the pilot program with a 12 percent increase in brand awareness and a 30 percent increase in purchase intent, so now the company is rolling out the feature as a core part of its advertising efforts and to all of its approximately 80 million users. Some of its users that opt for a paid “Pandora One” subscription, however, already get ad-free listening as a perk. 

The company has been experimenting with video ads and slideshows, but it will also offer a new 360-degree interactive product view and other rich media ads for the full roll out. One advertiser that has been taking advantage of the new 360-degree view ad in Pandora is Land Rover (pictured above):

“The Sponsored Listening offering is unique, and we jumped at the opportunity to align with this attention-based service during the launch of the new Discovery Sport,” said Kim Kyaw, digital marketing and social media manager at Land Rover North America. “Pandora’s Sponsored Listening product allowed consumers to engage with the vehicle – by watching a video or by interacting with a 360 degree unit – for at least 15 seconds. Opportunities to engage with our consumers around new vehicle launches within premium listening environments are difficult to find.”

Pandora says other companies are already signed-up as the new ads move out of beta, some of which include Corona Extra, Gatorade, truTV and Yuengling.

It doesn’t look like the Pandora app will need an update to start displaying the new ads, so you can expect to see them appear in the Pandora Radio app for iPhone and iPad soon if they haven’t already reached you as part of the pilot.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. That’s nice and all, but I use Apple Music, one less app that I need to have on my phone, taking up space.

    • louiethelug72 - 8 years ago

      So True, So True..!!!

    • chrisl84 - 8 years ago

      Yeah, good for you! Of course this article is for the 80 million Pandora users who dont want to pay Apple Music 10 bucks a month. So you can save 10MB of space on your phone while Spotify users save 120 dollars a year.

      • chrisl84 - 8 years ago

        Pandora users*

      • samuelsnay - 8 years ago

        One hundred twenty bucks for convenience and a bigger music selection? Sold!

      • chrisl84 - 8 years ago

        Free on Spotify and the same convenience and selection….Sold!….oh wait, nothing “sold” just enjoying it and keeping my money in the bank.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.