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Pandora will give you one hour of ad-free music if you 'engage with brands'

"Pay attention to us and we'll give you free music" — that's the message from brands and advertisers participating in online radio service Pandora's new "Sponsored Listening" initiative. The feature, which has been in beta for almost a year but is now rolling out to a wider audience, offers users an hour of ad-free radio if they watch a video or interact with a company's "rich media unit" for at least 15 seconds. This might mean swiping through a slideshow or fiddling with a 360-degree image of a product, all of which, says Pandora, helps "[foster] an intimate connection between the brand and the listener."

An example of a 360-degree video from Land Rover (Pandora)

It might sound a bit coercive, but Sponsored Listening is optional, and Pandora says it's had positive feedback from users about the feature. It's also an alternative to passive adverts, which companies might eventually tire of if they think people aren't paying attention — and without adverts, there's no free music. Pandora says a number of brands have already signed up to the service including Gatorade and Corona. Let's just hope that in the future you won't have to chug anything before getting your hour of free radio.