Pandora, which is about to face a big competitor when Apple irons out its remaining snags with iRadio, has just announced a new feature - Pandora Premieres. This station is unlike the rest, allowing users to listen to early album releases before they're available for purchase. While not much is available via it right now, more artists will be added in the future.
Thus far, two albums are being made available via Premieres: "Once I Was An Eagle" by Laura Marling, and "Wrote a Song for Everyone" by John Fogerty. Unlike a typical Pandora station, the pre-release albums are offered in an on-demand way, with users have the ability to select any track from the album to listen to as they wish. There's no limitations on the order songs are listened to, or how many times they're played.
Once the album is released for sale in stores, it will be removed from Pandora Premieres. According to the announcement, new albums will be featured on a weekly basis, and some of them will be accompanied by exclusive content, such as video interviews with the band or artist. The station functions mostly like other stations, with the ability to skip ahead to the next song. There's no thumbs-up and thumbs-down options, however, and tracks can be selected individually from a list.
The purpose of the new station is multi-faceted. On one hand, users will benefit by getting access to albums before they hit stores, and artists will get exposure ahead of album releases that could help fuel sales and that will provide a unique type of exposure. Pandora says such an impact on the careers of artists is "one of the most gratifying parts of this exposure."
In order to listen to the stations, users have to specifically hit up the Pandora Premieres URL at pandora.com/premieres, at which point it will be automatically added to your radio stations for future access. Have you checked it out yet? Let us know what you think in the comments!