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!

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