Pandora unveils Premium, its on-demand music streaming service
Personalization is Pandora's strong suitBy Jose Vilches
Pandora helped jump start the streaming music revolution with its radio station based service that tailors to the user's taste in music the more you use it. Now, almost a year after acquiring the now defunct streaming service Rdio, the company has shared more details on its upcoming entry into on-demand music services, where it will go head to head with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.
The service will launch in early 2017 as a new tier called Pandora Premium. Like many of its rivals it will offer an extensive library featuring millions of songs available on-demand, ad-free streaming, and the ability to save your music offline with a subscription expected to cost $9.99 per month.
The company's strength has always been in personalization so as you'd expect Pandora Premium will build upon this, leveraging several years of users' listening history and likes to make suggestions of new artists, albums and songs they may like to hear. Even your search results will be customized based on what Pandora knows about your taste in music, while there's also a smart playlists feature that will automatically suggest similar songs to those you've added to your playlist.
The thumbs up and down icons are still there and every time you thumbs-up a song, it gets added to an automatically-generated playlist. One feature that has been ported over from Rdio is AutoPlay, which will create a radio station based on the album or playlist you were listening to, so the music continues even when you've reached the end of either the playlist or album.
Pandora currently has some 78 million monthly users of its ad-supported, radio station based service. It also offers a Plus tier that costs $4.99 per month for ad-free listening, unlimited skips, and online listening.
Pandora CEO Tim Westergren expects the new on-demand service to hit 11.3 million subscribers in 2020. By comparison, Apple Music now has 20 million paid subscribers worldwide, up from 17 million in September, while Spotify is the clear market leader with around 40 million paid customers.