Pandora is taking on Spotify directly with a curated playlist called The Drop. It’s similar to Spotify’s Release Radar, focusing on introducing listeners to new releases from artists they already like.
The two playlists have more than a bit in common. Both playlists from Pandora and Spotify are timed to the day that artists release songs on the platforms. (Fridays have been the industry standard since 2015.) They’re also both made by machines. Release Radar generates songs using Echo Nest technology to comb through every part of a song to determine what you like to listen to. The Drop, similarly, is based on algorithms, although Pandora hasn’t given much detail on how it works.
Pandora plans to accumulate up to 100 songs on the playlist. At launch, the playlist had 14, with plans to automatically update it as new songs become available. Release Radar is only composed of 30 songs, and it cycles out old ones as soon as new ones drop.
Over the past year, Pandora has been focusing more on personalized playlists in an effort to convert its free users to Premium subscribers. Like Spotify’s curated genre and activity playlists, Pandora’s song collections have similar names like “Focus” and “Rainy Day,” but they’re tailored to listeners’ behavior and are populated by the Music Genome Project’s recommendations. The Drop is another one of Pandora’s efforts to regain its foothold in the music streaming business, as Spotify and Apple Music continue to overtake its market share. All of these offerings are only available to Pandora Premium users.