Back in the summer of 2008, Pandora had over 10 million listeners on the web and we were growing at a pretty good clip. Then in July we released Pandora for iPhone and everything changed. Suddenly, people could take Pandora with them: into the gym, the car, the living room, the kitchen, outside while jogging… the list goes on. Pandora truly became an anytime, anywhere phenomenon and as a result the use of Pandora accelerated dramatically. Less than two years later, we have over 50 million listeners and mobile listening accounts for more than 40% of the hours we stream.

In the years that followed, we brought Pandora to more and more environments with the goal of being everywhere our listeners wanted us to be: on Blackberries and Androids, Blu-Rays and TVs.

However, there was still one thing missing for our iPhone users: background listening. That’s all about to change.

Some weeks ago Apple invited us to a secret meeting where they revealed that background applications were coming to the iPhone OS 4 and that they’d like to use Pandora to show off these new capabilities at their big iPhone OS 4 product unveiling. Under the new operating system, Pandora will stream in the background while you use your iPhone to browse the web, read an e-book or play a game.

Participating in Apple’s launch event meant sending an engineer to Apple to update our software for OS 4 (this took about a day) and many, many, many (many) hours of presentation preparation so that we’d be ready to share the stage with Steve Jobs. This of course was all done with the utmost secrecy. Just a tiny handful of people even inside Pandora knew what we were doing.

Getting to participate in one of these Apple events has been a kind of lifelong dream for me. The Apple folks are masters of these types of presentations and it was an incredible experience to get to experience it from the inside. As our Founder Tim and I stood on stage presenting, there was a moment about halfway through where my nerves calmed enough (The software was going to work! It was going to be ok!) that I could just enjoy the moment and just take it all in. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

Apple released the iPhone OS 4 Developer Preview this week so that engineers can start updating their applications in anticipation of the launch of the new OS sometime this summer. We’re incredibly excited to enable background listening on the iPhone (and ultimately on the iPad too) — we’ll be ready just as soon as Apple ships the new OS.

-Tom

Comments

  1. Alexandria
    April 12, 2010 at 6:34pm
    I'm glad to hear this. Im currently running pandora on my iphone and loving it. I was wondering if you were going to have this available on the tmobile htc hd2 as well? Thank You.
  2. Ian Silber
    April 12, 2010 at 10:49pm
    So excited about this! Is there a way to beta test this app? Would love to help out if so.
  3. Rich Wiggins
    April 13, 2010 at 7:16am
    This is great news, and Pandora is the perfect app to demonstrate it. The blog text carefully refers to "background listening" while the press is reporting that version 4.0 of the iPhone software supports multitasking. I wonder if this is true n-way multitasking or something less. It's also interesting that Pandora says that background listening will be out for the iPhone and soon thereafter for the iPad. Does this mean that new OS versions will come out for the iPhone first and later for the iPad? Or will they sync someday?
  4. Sean
    April 13, 2010 at 10:35am
    I think it's spectacular that Pandora were invited to participate by Apple. It's an ideal app to launch that service, and having just begun my own journey into mobile Pandora, I have to say I'm really excited to see this happen. One question, though: what else would I want to do *besides* listen to Pandora?
  5. Johann
    April 13, 2010 at 3:18pm
    Hi guys, One thing that would make Pandora even better is the ability to have it continually play when other apps are running on the iphone. If I need to check my calendar or email quickly, Pandora stops and then I have to reopen the app. Is there a possible solution? Thank you and loving Pandora! Johann
  6. max
    April 13, 2010 at 5:16pm
    im 13 and lovin it i learned about it from a teacher and i cant go a day without it i am so happy i can listen to it everwhere i learn new bands
  7. MutantCheese
    April 13, 2010 at 7:28pm
    That's great, but I've been listening to Pandora in the background of my iPhone using Backgrounder for months now. It is a wonderful thing and nice to see Apple adopting a feature that should have been a no brainer 3 iphone models ago...
  8. Anonymous
    April 13, 2010 at 9:39pm
    @Johann, read the post. It answers your question right there. I can't believe some people fail to read things like this.
  9. tchristopher
    April 13, 2010 at 9:49pm
    im glad i didnt get an iphone then. my blackberry lets me do EVERYTHING and the whole time, pandora is playing in the background. it only cuts out when the phone rings. . . . such an inconvenience that someone calls me on my cell phone. . ha ha ha.
  10. Mike
    April 14, 2010 at 7:39am
    Hey there, I saw your presentation, and it looks fantastic. I'm currently running the Iphone 4 beta software, is there anyway to get your updated app before the official launch? I'm a sad panda with a cool new multitasking tool with nothing to multitask!
  11. Seventh day Adventist
    April 14, 2010 at 8:19am
    That's awesome! You guys continue to evolve what online radio is and what it is suppose to be. Keep up the great work!
  12. rob
    April 14, 2010 at 4:42pm
    This was the very first app I downloaded when I got my Droid. You guys have opened me up to a few new artists that I've never heard of before & I thank you for that
  13. Kimberly
    April 14, 2010 at 5:51pm
    Congratulations :) New Listener, I Love Pandora!
  14. qq
    April 14, 2010 at 11:51pm
    Ex 365 user. I was using live 365, but the commercials were really really killing me. The sponsored commercials are far longer than the free version of pandora, and the 365 promotions are completely out of control. I mean literally every couple songs you have to listen to them ask you to upgrade. Plus 365 is a lot more expensive than pandoara. But the main reason I got my paid subscription, is because pandoara free gave me a ton of free music, i had a few accounts, and i listed for like a month, ... and instead of getting annoyed like with 365, I found it pretty amazing. Love the death metal station! The post punk station needs work. Wish the music categories were a little more broken down like death, black, speed, classic metal. Don't know why doom is mixed with stoner. They really don't go well together. ... wish users had the option to deselect song criteria. Kinda like netflix does where you can pick "types of movies and mix and match qualities." for example demanding instrumentals or minor tones. The sound quality is also good. The pandora site needs an upgrade, its kinda lame. Its sorta buggy, slow and doesn't really do anything useful. Also, I saw pandora provides refunds to non-us users who cannot get on, pro rated. The quality and fairness of the service is what makes it successful.
  15. Greg
    April 17, 2010 at 4:52am
    Is there a way to beta test this app? I love it!
  16. Valerie Joseph
    April 17, 2010 at 6:51am
    Thank you so much for your service. This is heaven for me. Several years ago most of my CD's were stolen and it was before I got my Mac so my music wasn't loaded onto my computer. You let me listen to all my favorite music while I slowly rebuild my personal collection. Also the way you designed the software, you remind me of so much music that I forgot I loved. I will end up repurchasing not only all the music I lost but much more now because you will remind me of artists and songs I hadn't gotten around to collecting yet. Thanks again so much for what you have created. I have been telling everybody about you but all my friends seem to be aware of you already. I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes. I'm a relatively old Rock Chick (45) and I know that I will never know as much about the current technology as my young cousins, nieces and former students. But maybe Pandora will help me catch up. Sincerely, Valerie Joseph
  17. Claire
    April 18, 2010 at 11:55am
    I love Pandora just got it for my Iphone, it is totally awesome!!
  18. Kimberly
    April 18, 2010 at 2:23pm
    Your site is AWESOME!!! Rock On!
  19. N Mozeson
    April 18, 2010 at 3:45pm
    Are you going to add to the genre list? Some others I would like to see are : CELTIC, KLEZMER, BLUEGRASS. Meanwhile, thankyou for the opportunity to discover new musicians.
  20. Liz
    April 18, 2010 at 7:34pm
    OK, i really want to say how AWESOME the whole Pandora Radio experience has been for me. How in the hell are you guys so good at figuring out what i like? seriously! they know better than I do! Just wanted to thank you for that right there, Pandora. Kudos. Love their current app for the iphone too! sorry. come on, if you've tried this service you know you want to leave a comment thanking them as well.
  21. John
    April 19, 2010 at 8:51am
    Ton, You da' man. Keep up the good work. Thanks for keeping your product innovative. John
  22. soooooo
    April 19, 2010 at 1:15pm
    HTC HD2 second best selling cell in the US and you like most other companies are riding the Apple. One more product for Apple users; new ones at that (iPad) and you have only 4 or 5 Windows Mobile devices listed. I have down loaded hack after hack for my phone to use apps and everyone thinks the biggest joke has to be the one for Pandora, why ignore WM users any longer? Why I refuse to buy the service you ask, no need to be laughed at by my little cousin who uses her iTouch (thanks for that, really.)
  23. misfitlover
    April 20, 2010 at 5:54am
    umm Misfit info is wrong, They are not from 1977-1983...its 1977 to present just saw them play they still rock and are still awesome!! please update!
  24. Steve
    April 20, 2010 at 6:58am
    Can you give us some more visibility into when support for different AT&T phones will come on line?
  25. joe
    April 20, 2010 at 8:37am
    Not about the OS thing but only place I saw you could get you a message. Genre could use a comedy section!!!!!
  26. Amber
    April 20, 2010 at 11:20am
    A friend recently recommended Pandora and I think I just might have fallen in love! I'm not at all techie or up to date with techie things so I caught on a little late if you've been around for a couple of years but I'm making up for it quickly. A couple of things that would add to what you've got going here would be 1) the ability to set up stations based on key song themes, similar to iTunes genius, and 2)the ability to have a radio station solely devoted to songs from a certain decade or year. Even without those features, I'm still enjoying my time on Pandora. Thanks for adding to my musical tastes!
  27. BASE 168
    April 20, 2010 at 12:34pm
    Is there a way to report errors? I was listening to Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the song was Heplessly Hoping, but the lyrics provided (although labeled Helplessly Hoping) were actually to the song Helpless.
  28. Gaella
    April 22, 2010 at 12:33pm
    So sad I cannot get Pandora on my phone! Have Alltel and Palm Treo 755p Smart phone. Says it gets radio, but I've yet to have that work. Lovin' Pandora! Thanks
  29. Denise
    April 25, 2010 at 12:45pm
    Tim, what a TREAT! this app absolutely rocks! Only one complaint. I love Bob Dylan station. I like almost all the music, except Neil Young! I don't like Neil Young, if I wanted to hear Neil Young station, I would type it in to listen. That's the only tine I'm hitting fast forward or thumbs down. Other than that issue. It's great!
  30. MC
    April 27, 2010 at 7:20pm
    Not sure why Pandora cannot provide background listening on the iPhone 3GS. It's not like it's impossible. Varios radio atation apps, MLB At Bat and ESPN Radio all offer background listening, currently. I love Pandora but I'm honestly not impressed...
  31. Makon
    April 28, 2010 at 9:03am
    I love Pandora! Please add more Samsung Phones, I want to take Pandora with me when I run and ride horses!
  32. Tara
    May 01, 2010 at 9:25am
    I just love Pandora and want to thank you for this amazing gift. When I can have it playing in the background while I run so that I can use my iPhone as my GPS, my life will be just a little sweeter. You are all the best. Thanks for bringing your awesome vision to life and partnering with Apple to make it even better for the end users. Love it all. :) Tara
  33. lpgrear
    May 03, 2010 at 11:20am
    Thanks, I so new at this but it was one of the first Apps I downloaded at the instance of my iPhone friends. I'm looking forward to play around with it. Sincerely, Lisa
  34. John
    May 04, 2010 at 5:55am
    Brand new user...like May 3, 2010. This is just super. discovered it on my Roku device I had originally purchased for Netflix. I have much to learn about its use and how to program exactly what I want to listen to in contrast to listening to an entire album for instance. The clarity, even on my TV is just marvelous. Thank you
  35. billy thomas
    May 05, 2010 at 11:34am
    Wow, background listening? LOL, actually a useful thing indeed. A lot better than Samsungs new phone which is like comparing it to bad acne if you know what I mean! All joking aside this is cool as heck :)
  36. searchmnaster2
    May 05, 2010 at 1:04pm
    Hi! What am I doing wrong? Looged on www.pandora.com Created an account. Bookmarked over 20 tunes. Vut when i click on "Good Tunes" (what I thought I labeled it(...it just plays random oldies tunes and NOT my saved bookmarks. How other click on whatever and hear/play my bookmarked tunes? Thanks!!!
  37. Jake
    May 06, 2010 at 7:08pm
    Great app for iPhone. Love it!!!
  38. Dennis Dilday
    May 07, 2010 at 3:15pm
    I found out about you from a stranger (friend!) that I met around the pool on a recent trip to Phoenix. What at great find! This is a fabulous thing and I am loving every minute of my first experience. All the better that you are happy to be Apple friendly. DrD
  39. April
    May 09, 2010 at 4:04pm
    Such a great App Love it
  40. Audrey
    May 11, 2010 at 8:27pm
    I really want an application for the LG Xenon. I have one and I love Pandora, but I can't use it on my phone and I am rarely at home. Is there a plan to create an application for this phone? I use AT&T for my cell phone service, and some of my older phones are able to use Pandora, but not my newest one.
  41. Amber Darst
    May 17, 2010 at 4:45pm
    That is truely awesome!! But I have an iPod so is there any way that you might make the background music for iPods also?? I'm a user and I love it, but it would be sooo much better if you did this. Thank You!!
  42. paul
    May 21, 2010 at 6:10am
    This may be OT, but on the Pandora android app, you can create a station, but then it seems you can't add artists to it to get a little more variety, like you can on the web (which is what I did, went to my laptop and added artists) - is there a way to do this on my phone too?
  43. Liz
    May 24, 2010 at 7:50pm
    So our neighbors introduced us to Pandora last night...OMG, you are wonderful! I was, state WAS, an XM satellite radio devotee, and had even bought an ancient boombox to fit my outdated XM receiver for work- I don't need those antiquated things anymore! Went out and bought an iPhone compatible docking station with speakers (work won't let us stream internet) and now I listen to great music picked especially for me!!! Now I'm off to research purchasing a docking station for my car. I LOVE YOU PANDORA!
  44. Darcy
    May 28, 2010 at 12:08pm
    I love Pandora and was wondering why I couldn't listen to music on my Iphone when I did other things. I wish this was ready now!
  45. Psirontech
    June 01, 2010 at 7:47pm
    Any progress on getting this service on the Wii?
  46. Derrick
    June 03, 2010 at 5:23pm
    Honestly I don't give a flying f#$@ about making Pandora "social". Social is a way over-hyped buzzword right now. When people stop drinking this latest iteration of Kool-Aid, then what will Pandora be left with? Hopefully a sound core app. Focus on the core functionality and a friendlier UI before worrying about this trivial fad crap (note: Flash absolutely sucks as a UI, isolate Flash for the things it does well and do everything else without Flash). You remember over a year ago when you emailed us to brag about the new genres you were adding? Where are they???????? Where are basics like Indian classical music, Chinese classical music, and Japanese classical music? The current genre stations are the same ones I've seen on Pandora since the beginning. I still have to use other services to fulfill these desires. Shame on you for focusing on social bullshit when you never fulfilled the musical promises you made!
  47. Andrius
    June 06, 2010 at 12:23pm
    Great app for iPhone. I like it
  48. john
    June 07, 2010 at 7:01pm
    I'm on iOS 4.0 and would love to test your new version if possible
  49. Jem
    June 08, 2010 at 6:34pm
    @ Derrick Re: world stations. It takes a long while to build up a collection large enough to populate a station. We usually want to have about 3000 analyzed songs before we'll release a station. Considering that each song takes 15+ minutes to analyze, it is a meticulous process. Each different language and musical style requires a different analytical approach too. For a glimpse into this process, check out this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/magazine/18Pandora-t.html The Indian classical stations are actually available in Pandora. Create stations from your favorite artists. Some of mine are: Asha Bhosle, Ravi Shankar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. We're working on adding more! Please be patient with us. We're analyzing as fast we can. Jem Listener Advocate @ Pandora
  50. Craig
    June 09, 2010 at 2:26pm
    Two ?'s Anyway to beta the new pandora since I am already running 4.0? and second, how can I use Pandora over my airtunes express setup for other speakers?

Comments are closed.