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. 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!!
  2. 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?
  3. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. Psirontech
    June 01, 2010 at 7:47pm
    Any progress on getting this service on the Wii?
  6. 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!
  7. Andrius
    June 06, 2010 at 12:23pm
    Great app for iPhone. I like it
  8. john
    June 07, 2010 at 7:01pm
    I'm on iOS 4.0 and would love to test your new version if possible
  9. 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
  10. 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?

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