Pandora opens up the gates to Kiwis – again

Pandora opens up the gates to Kiwis – again

pandora launch nz radioOnline radio service Pandora is back with a range of Kiwi music channels, after geo-blocking access to New Zealand users back in 2007.

This week it launched in both Australia and New Zealand, the first countries where it is officially available outside the US. (Rival music streaming service Spotify, which launched to much fanfare here earlier this year, is also upping the ante with a bunch of new features.)

As well as its web-based service, there are apps for Apple and Android devices, and New Zealand-specific stations range from summer hits (by decade) through to indie rock and reggae/roots/dub.

Pandora says that of its 175 million registered users in the US, more than 115 million have accessed the smartphone apps and more than 75 percent of listening occurs on mobile.

“After years of preparation and anticipation we are absolutely thrilled to fully launch Pandora internationally in Australia and New Zealand. Personalised radio is a wonderful medium for listeners to enjoy music they know and discover music they’ll love," Pandora founder Tim Westergren said.

“With the huge number of mobile device users in Australia and New Zealand, we anticipate fast adoption of our free mobile apps that allow people to listen to their personalised stations on the go, wherever they are.”

Pandora works by allowing listeners to create stations based on their musical tastes across hundreds of genres. Personalised stations are powered by 'thumbs', which fine-tune each listener’s stations. For those who don’t have the time or desire to manually curate their playlists, just the name of a favourite song or artist can open the door to a host of new songs curated to their liking through the creation of a personalised channel.

The free version is funded through ads, while paid tiers remove advertising and offer better quality audio.

Pandora has hired a local managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Jane Huxley, who most recently spent five years at the helm of digital for Fairfax Media where she was responsible for leading the company’s product, mobile, video and online business strategies.

“I feel as though I’ve stumbled upon music’s greatest secret and I can’t wait for Australians and New Zealanders to enjoy music in the Pandora way. The service has certainly changed the way people have consumed and enjoyed music in America for the last 12 years, and I’m looking forward to seeing its adoption in Australia and New Zealand,” Huxley said

“This version of Pandora has been built specifically for Australians and New Zealanders and we are going to be all about bringing the best music experience of local and international artists as well as supporting local musicians. It’s an honour for me to be able to introduce Australians and New Zealanders to Pandora. My focus for the coming year will be to grow the audience for this great new medium as fast as I can.”

Pandora has paired up with Holden to integrate with the Holden MyLink infotainment system, which debuts in the new Barina CDX, making it the first car company in Australasia to offer full Pandora compatibility. MyLink offers in-car smartphone connectivity that allows control of supported information and entertainment apps, and from next years drivers will be able to use Pandora on the move.