Pandora Stories allows Creators to curate Playlists and Mixtapes comprised of music and comedy tracks from Pandora’s extensive catalog. Curators can further customize Programs with their own commentary, or that of a collaborator, by uploading Voice Tracks sequenced within the Program.
TechCrunch has a statement from Pandora’s VP of Artist Marketing and Industry Relations, Jeff Zuchowski.
“Podcasts can tell stories about music, but it’s difficult to include full songs, and regular playlists have songs but lack personal context from the artists behind them. We’ve created Pandora Stories to fill the void, bringing together the greatest strengths of both podcasts and playlists, and giving artists the opportunity to connect with listeners on a uniquely deep and personal level.”
Pandora explains that Voice Tracks are messages recorded by any Creator, artist, or featured guest that add context or commentary to the Program listening experience.
The Voice Tracks are not advertisements, but they can be used to promote music, comedy, or podcast releases. The Voice tracks “should instead be used to make listeners laugh, cry, or learn something new.”
A Voice Track can be set to play as an introduction to your Program, before or after a specific track within the Program, or as an unattached message playing as sequenced in a Playlist or at random in a Mixtape. Those who want to create Pandora Stories need to fill out a form.
If I’m understanding this correctly, Pandora considers the combination of the Voice Tracks and music in a Playlist to be similar to a podcast. Personally, I don’t think Pandora Stories are podcasts, or even podcast episodes. They are sort of a hybrid between podcasts and playlists.