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New Pandora ad doubles down on the joy of non-interactive listening [VIDEO]

Pandora has released a new TV commercial in its line of “The Next Song Matters” series, called The Song. The new spot takes the theme of Pandora’s first ad in this series (The Next Song) — the joyous impact of the perfect song at the perfect time — and compresses it into the deep feeling of music generally. In both, there is an underlying message of perfect music provided by non-interactive listening.

In the latest full one-minute spot, several individuals vividly describe how a song makes them feel:

In Pandora’s business framework playing out in 2016, the market-leading non-interactive platform is building an interactive business to sit alongside the legacy service, offering users the opportunity to select their own music, build their own playlists — basically, choose their own “next songs.” The company regards this product expansion as a necessary maneuver to compete more fully with Spotify’s on-demand plus radio service.

Along the way, though, Pandora probably doesn’t want consumers to lose sight of the Music Genome, the core music intelligence technology on which the company was founded. The first “Next Song Matters” commercial hits that point explicitly: “We’ve already studied every note, every beat, to bring you this song, your song.”

It is unknown how the Music Genome will factor into Pandora’s upcoming on-demand service, or how the two sides of the expanded platform will interact. These commercials evangelize lean-back listening serviced by the world’s smartest computer curation system, highlighting the moment of anticipation when you don’t know what’s coming next (first ad), and the moment of fulfillment when you receive a perfect song which evokes a spectrum of feelings expressed in the second ad. Putting value on the don’t know moment runs exactly contrary to the value of lean-in music services where you pick your own next song and build your own linear experience.

As such, the ads position Pandora between terrestrial radio, which is unpersonlized to the individuals, and on-demand music services which can be completely customized by the individual. At the same time, they emphasize the joyful instant in which “don’t know” is resolved with a perfect song (in the first ad), and the deep emotional meaning of favorite songs in the second ad.

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Brad Hill

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