Pandora iOS update adds autopause, better buffering

The changes are meant to keep Pandora's mobile radio playing when you want it and turn it off when you don't, as the company keeps the bite of licensing costs limited to engaged listening.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman

Pandora's latest iOS update includes improved buffering and an autopause feature that stops radio playback when the iPhone listeners mute their phones. It also includes "bug fixes and improvements to keep your music playing as it should."

In other words, the Internet's top radio provider is doing everything it can to keep music playing when you want to listen and turn it off when you don't.

Pandora pays out more than half its revenue in royalties and is doing everything it can to be sure that it's not paying fees on tunes that are falling on deaf ears.

A quick test by CNET failed to get the autopause feature to engage, however.

Pandora's update may also be a response to iTunes Radio, the long-awaited, recently launched Apple answer to Internet radio. One of the key features that distinguish iTunes Radio from Pandora is Apple's ability to offer greater control over what listeners choose to hear.

That won't change unless Pandora decides to upend its model, abandoning a simple-but-constrained licensing system set up by Congress for direct deals with labels like Apple did.