Pandora guns for Spotify & Apple Music with new Premium on-demand service [u]

in iPhone edited March 2017
Pandora on Monday announced that its long-promised on-demand music service -- Pandora Premium -- is rolling out this week, challenging rivals like Apple and Spotify with a handful of unique features, mostly focused on personalization. [Updated with more launch info]

Upgrading to Premium for instance adds a "My Thumbs Up" playlist to a listener's library, including every song liked across Pandora's regular radio stations. The library itself incorporates stations alongside playlists, songs, and albums.

Pandora is also claiming faster playlist creation through an "Add Similar Songs" option, which makes use of the company's algorithms to automatically populate a list based on a handful of tracks. Similarly, the service can automatically generate playlists based on songs liked from a specific radio station, and offer new album recommendations from a person's favorite genres, rather than just the most popular material.

Search, meanwhile, is said to be more refined, generally ignoring karaoke and cover tracks, and improving in accuracy over time.

Other features include downloads for offline listening, and a different "Now Playing" interface which changes color based on album art and inserts options for saving and downloading.

Yet to be added is AutoPlay, which like Spotify will create an endless playlist once a song, album, or playlist finishes. Pandora is also promising wider platform support beyond its iOS and Android apps, such as a Web app for desktops and laptops.

Access to Premium will expand gradually, and cost $9.99 per month for individual subscribers. It's unknown if any family or student plans are in the works.

Pandora is one of Apple's key competitors in streaming music, with some 81 million listeners, though only somewhere over 4.3 million use a paid subscription instead of the free ad-based tier. Apple Music has over 20 million paid subscribers, but no free listening past a three-month trial. Spotify recently topped 50 million paid customers with many more likely tuning in for free.

Update: Existing users of Pandora's free tier should receive invites for a free two-month trial starting on March 15 -- a similar trial should at some point be available to new users. Pandora Plus subscribers will get six months free.


  • Reply 1 of 8
    GETCARTERcaGETCARTERca Posts: 8unconfirmed, member
    Won't get too far only offering the service only being available in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. Also they will need to have better pricing. I'll continue to use free Spotify until they offer a plan closer to $4-$5 a month. 

  • Reply 2 of 8
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,610member
    I deleted the Pandora app unless and until they fix their autoplay bug. 
  • Reply 3 of 8
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,138member
    I'll continue to use Apple Music...I've never liked Pandora. 
  • Reply 4 of 8
    Too little too late. 
  • Reply 5 of 8
    pkisselpkissel Posts: 27member
    We have two paid subscriptions to Spotify. I personally like the idea of a "radio station" approach. I can start a mix based on artist and hear a good mix of music in the background while I do something else. Low maintenance. I'd recommend the service.
    edited March 2017
  • Reply 6 of 8
    CioCio Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    > "...AutoPlay, which like Spotify will create an endless playlist once a song…" I'm finding that Apple Music's "[play a song] > Create Station" creates a decent endless playlist – using that all the time.
    edited March 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 8
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,739member
    I liked the old Pandora One ($30/six months commercial free) so it'll be interesting to see how the new service works out. The depth of their library will be the real test, but they've never borked up my iTunes library (like Apple Music/iTunes Match) and have never required a mandatory Facebook login (ala Spotify) so they're already ahead of the competition as far as I'm concerned.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    ike17055ike17055 Posts: 121member
    They may have missed the party that they helped organize at this point. However, Their list curation is first rate and i have found them more than useful enough for artist discovery that they have a warm spot in my heart and i keep them on hand with a Plus subscription that I pay 4 bucks a month for.  Unfortunately, It is hard to see them findng a way to profitability at this point. Integrating the assets they got from Rdio, another superb service that couldn't make any money, took too long and comes at a point where the marketplace has already chosen its dominant players. 
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