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Pandora is preparing to implement a day pass service that will allow customers to buy short-term access to ad-free music streaming. The day pass will take the form of a limited, non-recurring subscription to Pandora One. The plan currently involves a 24-hour pass for 99 cents, though Pandora will be testing that price, and could even implement a multi-day pass.

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If you're a streaming music junkie, and Pandora happens to be your drug of choice, you'll be happy to know that the Windows Phone version of the app recently got a pretty nice update. Coming along for the ride are voice commands (yes, you can now shout at Pandora), recommended stations, and a new sleep timer so you can drift off to some hot tracks.

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Pandora is a popular music service available in the US, Australia and New Zealand. Since the official app for Windows Phone launched on the store last year, consumers have been able to enjoy an ad-free experience without having to upgrade to a premium subscription.

This commercial-free Pandora experience was down to Microsoft, but now Pandora has announced that advertising will be coming to the Windows Phone platform, unless you have Pandora One.

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There is an official Pandora app for Windows Phone, but before that came out, we relied on third party applications like MetroRadio. Metro Pandora, the SDK that third party applications have relied on has just been pulled due to infringement notice from Pandora. The complaint will go undisputed.

Pandora’s DMCA Notice mentions the unauthorized use of their registered trademarks and API. We can’t blame Pandora for protecting their property.

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Nokia isn’t quite done with their Music service app just yet as today, version 3.11.25.0 has gone live in the Store. Exclusively for Nokia’s Lumia line, the new update brings along with it a handful of major improvements to make us take another look at the service.

The first major change is Nokia Music now supports the ability to ‘like’ specific artists in your library to “further personalize your music experience”. Nokia Music will also 'like' artists based on your playing history and the contents of your music library, which truly is the killer feature many of us have been waiting for. After all, what’s the use of just streaming music with no feedback system? Sure it’s nice, it’s just not compelling.

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While Pandora made a big splash when it came to Windows Phone 8 earlier this year, MetroRadio had been around for much longer offering access to the same service. Back then, it would occasionally break as it used non-standard APIs to access the Pandora library. That has now been fixed, amongst other things, with the latest must-have update.

There are currently two versions of MetroRadio—one free, one paid—and the free one was updated last night with the paid receiving the same update a few weeks ago. It’s not a minor update either, as the app has been completely re-written with a new, simpler UI.

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Pandora music has always been one of those apps that served as a metric for mobile platforms: so long as Windows Phone did not have it, it was behind. Luckily, last October Microsoft finally announced that indeed Pandora was coming to Windows Phone 8 in “early 2013” and a few weeks ago we had hints it was near.

Well, that day is today.

Yes, the official Pandora app for Windows Phone 8 can be downloaded from the Store and is now available in the US, Australia and New Zealand. What’s more, Microsoft carried through on their promise of an ad-free experience throughout the year. Indeed users won’t have to pay a dime to experience the premium Pandora experience on their Windows Phone.

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Windows Phone 8 users should rejoice as evidently the newly updated WhatsApp and Twitter apps are just the beginning. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore took to Twitter to react to the mostly positive news by teasing  he has a “few more apps on my #WP8 phone that aren’t in the Store”.

Microsoft in the past has had headline grabbing “app pushes” where a near steady cadre of awaited apps were launched on Windows Phone. The last time this happened was soon after Windows Phone 7.5 was launched with nearly 50 high profile apps being released over a span of weeks.

While we’re certainly not anticipating that many apps this time (Microsoft did just hit 130K apps) there are a few big titles that we’re still missing...

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Sonos the popular multi room entertainment system is a great bit of kit but the company has yet to release a official app for Windows Phone. Phonos seeks to fill that gap and allows you to control all the players and music services throughout your home. We previously covered the app and did an interview with the developer a while back if want to read our views on the unofficial solution.

An update to the app to take it version 4 has hit the Windows Phone Store today and brings with it a number of improvements.

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Slacker Radio has announced plans to arrive on the Xbox 360. The service, which is already available on Windows Phone (see our review), will bring  music and content to Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers. The free radio app will be made available on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and will pack Kinect features for gestures and voice commands to be supported.

Over 200 music stations are included in the lineup, with the likes of ESPN and ABC News headlining the selection. Each station can be personalised, ensuring a unique and relevant experience is possible for each user. The catalogue of not only music, but comedy, news and sport content makes Slacker Radio a varied experience with a reportedly 10x larger selection than Pandora.

Check out the press release after the break.

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Pandora recently changed their APIs for their service resulting in some significant downtime for unofficial Windows Phone apps. Radio Controlled is right around the corner and now MetroRadio (both free and Pro) are back on the Windows Phone Marketplace in full working condition.

While many will ding Pandora for doing this on purpose to block unofficial apps, the truth is more complicated than that. Windows Phone Central member Jiffy Pop received a detailed letter from Pandora discussing the ins and outs of the API changes. Here's a sample:

"We know that our recent release has broken most unsupported Pandora clients, and we do apologize for the surprise and inconvenience that undoubtedly caused to your listening experience.

At a basic level, third-party applications are violating our Terms of Use and are obviously not authorized to sell (or give away) something that fundamentally derives its value from our product...

We definitely do recognize that our actions limit the options available to well-intentioned listeners who do not want to use any of our endorsed clients, and we're genuinely sorry for the inconvenience this brings to our enthusiastic listeners like yourself! We really appreciate your support of the service and respect the DIY spirit, but our hand has been forced on this issue."

They mention security issues and potential malicious usage of their APIs as reasons for the changes and while they are not purposefully blocking Windows Phone clients, inevitably we're caught up in their API updates as a side effect.

Pandora does note that they still don't have plans for an official Windows Phone client either, so while this back-and-forth may be a pain for developers and listeners, it may be the only way forward for sometime if you're a diehard Pandora fan. Of course there are plenty of alternatives out there as well.

In the meantime, you can pick up MetroRadio 5.0 (free) or MetroRadio Pro 2.0 (no ads) in the Marketplace and be assured they are working now Edit: Pro is updated, the free version is getitng approved as we speak. Sit tight.

   

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