Popular personalized radio service Pandora, which went public in June, has just announced that it’s rolling out its overhauled, HTML5-based music player to everyone. The service has been testing the player since July, and it’s a huge improvement over the old Flash-based experience. Everything looks much more modern, it’s faster, and it’s easier to use.
The other big piece of the news: Pandora is removing the cap on how much music ‘free’ users can listen to every month. Historically Pandora has let users stream 40 hours of music a month, at which point they were prompted to upgrade to a premium ‘Pandora One’ account (which run $36 a year). Starting today, that cap is gone, so users can listen to as much as they’d like. There’s still a significant incentive to upgrade though, as Pandora One users never have to deal with ads.
It’s also worth pointing out that the player is launching the day before Facebook’s f8 conference. Pandora was among the first services to sport Facebook’s ‘Instant Personalization’, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if it’s deeply integrated into whatever Facebook is launching tomorrow. Pandora is also making its own social features more prominent, with the integration of a new social feed as part of today’s update. From the Pandora blog:
Discovery of Music with Friends – Enhanced listener profiles and a new music feed offer a centralized place to find, like and comment on what friends and like-minded listeners are discovering and enjoying on Pandora. The music feed will roll out slowly over the course of the coming days. In addition to the prominent new “share” button, stations now have their own URLs, making it super easy for listeners to share favorite stations via Twitter, Facebook, or email.