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Uber launches Pandora promotion for drivers

Ad-free until the end of the year, new promotion gives drivers more options for music listening

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
June 27, 2016
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4640

Most radio stations these days don’t have the best music in the world. In the Bay Area, my favorites are 91.1 for jazz, 98.1 for funk and R&B, and 102.1 for hip hop throwbacks. But the digital options are much better.

Hoping to offer up some more options for its rides, Uber announced today that drivers in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand can now play music from Pandora for free and without advertisements until the end of the year. Starting on December 29, the stations will include ads for those drivers that don’t have paid Pandora subscriptions.



As this includes a full technology integration with Pandora, Uber’s partner app (the one for drivers) now includes a dedicated button that says "Play Music,” which allows Pandora users to set their station and start listening to music. The device has to be hooked up to the car’s stereo through Bluetooth or an AUX port to work.

According to Uber product managers Holly Ormseth and Bob Cowherd:

“With Pandora integrated directly into the Uber partner app, everything you need to play music, discover new artists, and save songs is all in one place. There’s no need to bounce back and forth between apps or fiddle with the radio. And with Pandora’s endless stations right at your fingertips, you won’t have to worry about ads, interruptions, or repetitive songs.”

The company says it worked directly with real Uber drivers to develop the functionality for this new feature.

This isn’t the first time Uber has partnered with a digital music provider to help soundtrack its rides. Back in 2014, the company announced integration with Spotify to give passengers control over music playing in the car.

More recently, Uber announced an expansion to its API called Uber Trip Experiences, giving third-party apps more power to customize their offerings for the length of a passenger's ride. For Spotify, this could mean making a playlist that lasts as long as the estimated time until the destination.

The announcement with Pandora is far from the first integration Uber has announced this year, but the company’s integrations typically involve the ability to order an Uber from different devices and platforms. At the 2016 WWDC hosted by Apple in San Francisco, for example, Uber was cited as one of the first third-party developers to integrate with Siri, allowing iOS users to hail a ride with their voice.

Similarly, Uber announced earlier this year that users of Alexa, the voice assistant for the Amazon Echo, can order a ride with their voice. Before that, Uber integrated with Facebook Messenger to make it easy to order a ride within chat conversations.


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