Pandora launches premium music service

16 March, 2017, 00:45 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Pandora debuts premium on-demand music tier

Existing Pandora radio subscribers will be able to try the new streaming service for no additional cost.

Pandora was one of the first big players in the music streaming game, with it's one-of-a-kind Music Genome Project powering a song recommendation engine that blew our collective minds over 15 years ago, and it continues to impress to this day. Like Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music, Pandora Premium is $10 a month, features thousands of streaming songs, and works pretty much the same as all the other services you're already using.

The company's ability to inexpensively transition 375,000 ad-supported users in Q4 to Pandora Plus strengthens Wedbush's faith in its ability to do the same with on-demand as Premium is rolled out over the coming months. The million dollar question is will users agree to the pay the $9.99 a month charge for access to 40 million songs on-demand, offline listening and individualized playlists from the company's team of music analysts? The service costs $9.99 per month and will focus on helping users curate their own music experience for any situation. Thumb up a few tracks on any Pandora radio station and Premium will automatically create a new playlist of these songs too. Search for an album or artist, tap play, and you're streaming an album.

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Despite entering the subscription on-demand party rather late, Pandora does have some advantages.

At first, no. Unlike Spotify and Pandora's current offerings, Premium will launch on iOS and Android phones, Google Chromecast, and smart vehicle setups including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and systems from GM, Honda, Subaru and others. "That's why they spend more time with Pandora than any other music service", said Tim Westergren, founder and CEO of Pandora in a statement. Pandora, which hasn't been profitable in eight quarters, is trading 24% below where it began trading when the company went public in 2011. The firm's estimate of $368 million in subscription revenue for 2017 contemplates 5.7 million Pandora Plus subscribers and 2.0 million Pandora Premium subscribers. Pandora says Premium will land on the desktop and "popular connected devices" in "the coming months". Greenfield said that Pandora Premium will be immediately under pressure given the minimum guarantee revenue deals it had to sign with music labels. Listeners can give songs a thumbs up to hear more songs similar to that or thumbs down to not hear that track again on that station. Apple has more than 20 million subscribers to Apple Music.

Users can now view a "My Thumbs Up" playlist, which includes songs they've previously thumbed up.

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