Pandora to release day pass for ad-free listening

Pandora is looking to add a paid day pass to its service later this year, company executives revealed during Pandora’s investor day Thursday. The day pass will give users a way to listen without advertising interruptions, and they won’t have to subscribe to the company’s Pandora One subscription plan.

[company]Pandora[/company] Chief Product Officer Chris Phillips told investors Thursday that this could make Pandora a good source of music for a summer BBQ party, where users don’t want to annoy their guests with ad breaks. He showed off a slide that featured a sign-up page for a 24-hour plan for $0.99, but added that the company will be testing the price as well as the question whether the day pass should be for one or three days.

pandora one day pass

A Pandora spokesperson confirmed plans for the day pass Friday, sending me the following statement via email:

“Pandora is committed to delivering an effortless, personalized experience and we recognize some consumers may want an ad-free experience but don’t necessarily want to commit to a subscription. This offering will allow consumers to choose and explore what is right for them or suits a particular event or experience. Pricing and exact timing are yet to be determined but we expect it to be available later this year.”

Pandora currently offers an ad-free subscription tier dubbed Pandora One for $4.99 a month that also offers 192 kbps playback on the web as well as more skips per day than the ad-supported version of the service.

However, Pandora still makes most of its money with its ad-supported service; in Q4, the company generated $220 million in revenue from advertising, but only $47.9 million from subscriptions. Moreover, ad revenue grew 36 percent year-over-year, whereas subscription revenue only grew 24 percent year-over-year.

Rdio launches in 24 additional countries

Music subscription service Rdio launched in another 24 countries Thursday. The list of new markets for Rdio includes the Cayman Islands, Haiti and Jamaica, and brings Rdio’s global footprint to 85 countries and territories. Rdio also announced a partnership with Caribbean mobile operator Digicel that will allow Digicel customers to stream Rdio for free for 30 minutes a day without counting against their data caps. As a comparison, Spotify is now available in 58 markets worldwide.

Music discovery startup Earbits celebrates comeback after mystery investment

Earbits, the music discovery startup that shut down earlier this week due to lack of funds, unexpectedly announced its return Thursday. “A strategic partner has stepped forward and provided the necessary funding to bring Earbits back online indefinitely,” wrote Earbits CEO Joey Flores on the company’s blog. There’s no word yet on who this strategic partner might be and how big of a stake in Earbits it now holds, but Flores said that he would be sharing additional details soon.