Pandora on Tuesday announced a new initiative called AMPcast that allows artists to speak directly to their fans.

As part of Pandora's Artist Marketing Platform which launched in late 2014, AMPcast lets artists record brief audio messages via their phone that can then be inserted between songs on the platform. These messages can be used to promote a new album or single, inform listeners of upcoming concerts in their area or just to build a closer connection with their audience. The messages can even accompany a call-to-action link.

The fact that they are self-service and can be created on-the-fly is in stark contrast to traditional "artist messages" that require studio time, making them far less timely.

The natural inclination here is to label this as another form of advertising, which it sort of is. On the other hand, listeners will only hear messages from artists that they have shown an interest in (created a station based off them or liked a song, for example). Unlike ads, AMPcast messages can be skipped and are also opt-out.

The Internet radio giant is launching the feature with a limited number of artists at present. This will give the company time to optimize the feature (find the sweet spot as it relates to message frequency, for example) before a full rollout to all artists in the coming months.

Lead image via Spencer Platt, Getty Images