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Pandora Expands to Australia, New Zealand

New country-specific genre stations across a variety of music types

Pandora Internet audio is now live in Australia and New Zealand.

We had recently reported the company wanted to expand outside the U.S.

In addition to the Web-based player, consumers can access Pandora using a smartphone app for iOS and Android. Of Pandora’s 175 million registered listeners in the U.S., 115 million have accessed the smartphone apps, according to the company. Seventy-five percent of listening today occurs on mobile. Pandora counts Australia and New Zealand as among the world’s most “mobile-centric societies.”

Holden Barina MyLink

For the new launch, Pandora curated genre stations of Australian and New Zealand-based music.

In first quarter 2013, GM-owned Holden will be the first car company in Australia and New Zealand to offer Pandora with a smartphone connection to Holden’s MyLink infotainment system in the Barina CDX. Holden Technology Director Richard Marshall says MyLink has been designed to minimize driver distraction. Users can customize their MyLink by downloading apps, including Pandora’s, he said, while offering drivers access to a greater range of music than they could get by playing an iPod or CD.

MyLink infotainment system integrates the driver’s compatible smartphone and stored media via Bluetooth, auxiliary jack or USB with the radio. MyLink in Australia launched last month with the Stitcher Smart Radio app, which allows users to access custom-made “radio” stations, live radio stations and podcasts via a smartphone’s Internet connection.

In addition to the Pandora app, in Q1 2013, the TuneIn app will be added to the Holden MyLink system.

The personalized Internet audio service has hired a local managing director for Australia and New Zealand — Jane Huxley, most recently at the helm of digital for Fairfax Media. She had previous stints at Microsoft and Vodaphone in Australia.

Huxley says a main goal for the year will be to grow Pandora’s audience. “This version of Pandora has been built specifically for Australians and New Zealanders and we are going to be all about bringing the best music experience of local and international artists as well as supporting local musicians.”

Pandora plans launch events in Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne this week.