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With Pandora's Stories, playlists feel more like podcasts

Pandora Stories lets artists create playlists interspersed with voice tracks, so you hear the stories and inspiration behind the music.


Pandora's Stories will feel more like regular radio.

Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Pandora unveiled a new playlist format Tuesday that peppers music tracks with segments of chat, giving artists like John Legend and Daddy Yankee the ability to DJ a conversational playlist for fans. 

"Pandora Stories exemplifies our commitment to continually innovate for both our listeners and for artists and creators of all kinds using the power of music and audio storytelling tools," Chris Phillips, Pandora's chief product officer, said in a statement. 

The move comes amid a surge of interest in talk-based audio on streaming music services, as they try to distinguish themselves from one another despite their basically identical catalogs of music. Spotify is aiming to fashion itself as a podcast heavyweight, buying podcast companies Gimlet and Anchor earlier this month. Pandora itself has been campaigning to make podcasts a bigger part of its service, with measures like personalizing podcast recommendations and releasing exclusive shows like Questlove Supreme

The first collection of Stories, available to all Pandora listeners Tuesday by searching "Pandora Stories," features Legend, Daddy Yankee, Lauren Alaina, Perry Farrell, Wes Anderson music supervisor Randall Poster, and Amy Winehouse collaborator and Dap-Kings guitarist Tommy Brenneck. More are coming from 2 Chainz, Rob Thomas and others.

Pandora Premium subscribers can listen to Pandora Stories ad-free, and Pandora ad-supported and Plus listeners can unlock them by watching a 30-second ad. 

Pandora Stories are part of the streaming service's Artist Marketing Platform, also known as AMP, which includes a a suite of free marketing tools for artists with music on Pandora.