Uber this morning announced an expanded relationship with Pandora, which will see the music service integrated into the Uber rider mobile application, along with Spotify. Uber customers in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, will now be able to access their Pandora account from the Uber app in order to listen to their own favorite stations and artists while in the vehicle. The ride-hailing company had announced a similar deal with Spotify back in 2014.
And this June, Uber teamed up with Pandora to bring the music service to the drivers’ application, allowing them to stream music, create stations, thumbs up and down songs, and discover new artists, directly from their own Uber app.
What’s interesting is that with both Uber drivers and riders now able to stream from Pandora, you have a situation where musical conflicts – and radio stations takeovers – can occur. That is, Uber riders can launch the app to see what stations their driver is playing, then sign into their own Pandora account, and change the tunes to their liking.
This may seem like the sort of things that could irk drivers – after all, when the Spotify partnership was first announced, some were concerned that letting passengers choose the music would dehumanize the driver.
But on the flip side, many drivers today do ask passengers if the music is okay or if the rider would like to hear a different station, out of courtesy. By offering the ability to connect to Spotify or Pandora, the Uber app simply digitizes that switching experience, even if it doesn’t remove the need for the accompanying social niceties that are involved. (You know, it’s still nice to ask first.)
Pandora says that since its launch in the Uber driver app, drivers have played over 4 million hours of music – 60 million songs – and the most popular stations have been Drake, Future, Beyoncé, Adele and Bruno Mars.
To use the new feature on the rider side, you’ll need to be booked on a music-connected Uber. That means the driver has to have their phone connected via AUX, Bluetooth or USB; However, they don’t have to have their own linked Pandora account, nor do they need to be currently streaming music.
When the driver is on the way, you’ll see the option appear to choose the music for your ride. And if the driver is already streaming Pandora, you can see what they’re playing. You can then tap the music bar at the bottom of the screen, log into Pandora, and choose your station. When you get in your car, your music will begin playing.
This is also how a rider can choose to connect with a Spotify Premium account, as before. Spotify integration is live now in all 59 markets where the music service is live.
Uber says that rider music is only available on iOS for now, with Android support in the works for a future release.