Pandora tests hand-free voice mode for music app

Music streaming service Pandora is currently testing Voice Mode, which lets listeners control the mobile app using voice commands for a more intuitive and hands-free experience.

For now, only select listeners on iOS and Android will be able to test the new feature, although Pandora has plans for a wider roll-out of the technology soon.

“Pandora is the leader in personalized audio entertainment, and millions of our listeners are already loving the experience we’ve created on smart speakers and other voice-enabled connected devices,” said Chris Phillips, Chief Product Officer, Pandora.

“With Voice Mode, we are introducing an even more natural and conversational way for listeners to discover new music and enhance their experience directly in the Pandora mobile app, like getting recommendations from a friend who really knows you.”

Users just have to say “Hello Pandora” to wake up the assistant and are then able to follow with a request. The latter include control requests such as volume, skipping, pausing a track or changing station, thematic requests (e.g. “play something relaxing”) and open-ended requests (e.g. “play something different”).

Users can also ask for specific artists, songs or playlist and even ask for the name of a specific song or artists being played.

The commands were devised together with the Music Genome Project, a dataset of music-listening information. The technology has been developed in partnership with SoundHound Inc.’s Houndify voice and conversational AI platform.