Pandora launches Stories to mix music playlists with artist storytelling

Pandora has a new audio feature today called Pandora Stories – and no, it’s not another Snapchat clone. The streaming service combines its existing catalog of music playlists with its growing collection of podcasts (sort of) to create a new listening experience.

Here is the pitch for Stories from Pandora:

Podcasts can tell stories about music, but usually don’t include full songs. And the playlists contain songs, but lack the personal context of the artists behind them. Pandora stories have arrived to fill that void.

As a fan of both audio forms, it’s a neat concept (even though Pandora uses the term “podcast” liberally here).

Pandora sees “musicians, actors, filmmakers, athletes, celebrities, authors and beyond” all using the new Stories feature to mix music with storytelling. The streaming service also offers tools for creators to create their own stories. simply request access to Pandora at AMPplaybook.com/pandora-stories.

Stories is launching with a variety of ready-to-use collections and more on the way:

Pandora’s first collection of stories includes John Legend, Daddy Yankee, Lauren Alaina, Perry Farrell, Wes Anderson music supervisor Randall Poster, Amy Winehouse collaborator and Dap-Kings guitarist Tommy Brenneck, and a hosted story by Pandora exploring “Love Songs That Really Aren’t Love Songs,” with upcoming stories from 2 Chainz, Rob Thomas and more.

Pandora says Premium subscribers (Pandora’s version of Apple Music) can listen to Stories ad-free; non-Premium listeners can listen to Stories uninterrupted after watching a 30-second sponsored clip.

Apple has its giant repertoire of podcasts, but it’s not mixing its repertoire with Apple Music today in any way. Apple Music is instead removing interactive artist features with the demise of Connect, but a similar feature allowing artists to shuffle commentary between tracks in special playlists for members would be compelling.

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George L. Hernandez