Better late than never: Pandora has announced that Pandora Premium, its first ever on-demand streaming tier, launches this week.
The company, which lost $343m last year, has some big hurdles to clear in making premium a success – not least that the leading music-focused business in the on-demand streaming space, Spotify, lost almost $200m in 2015.
Yet Pandora has a unique advantage, with around 80m active monthly listeners currently enjoying its free and/or $4.99-a-month interactive radio tiers.
Interestingly, existing Pandora Plus subscribers ($4.99-a-month) will enjoy six months of Premium for no additional charge.
Invites for a free trial of Pandora Premium roll out to select listeners on March 15 and an option to upgrade will be available to all listeners over the coming weeks.
Premium was originally slated to launch in September last year and is based on technology from Rdio, which Pandora acquired for $75m after it fell into bankruptcy. It is currently unclear what plans may be for a global rollout of the service outside the US.
Pandora promises that Premium will “combine the best of Pandora’s beloved personalized radio with the ability to search and play any track or album as well as a unique set of playlist features tailored to each person’s distinct preferences” – and that “listeners can now curate their music experience with an ease of use unmatched by any other service”.
“Every day tens of millions of people trust us to choose the exact right songs for them. That’s why they spend more time with Pandora than any other music service.”
Tim Westergren, Pandora
Tim Westergren, founder and CEO of Pandora, said: “Every day tens of millions of people trust us to choose the exact right songs for them. That’s why they spend more time with Pandora than any other music service.
“With Premium, we’re leveraging our immense trove of data and everything we’ve learned about personalization to offer a listening experience that sets a new standard for what a music service should be.”
Westergren has previously confirmed a target of Pandora Premium and Pandora Plus adding 6m – 9m paying subscribers in 2017.
Pandora listeners who start a trial will see all of their stations and thumbed up songs, along with a “Now Playing” feature, which pulls a signature color from the album art and changes as each track plays.
Trial lengths for existing Pandora ad-supported listeners and those new to Pandora vary.
Premium is available now on iOS and Android phones, Google Chromecast, and integrated in the car with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, GM, Honda, Hyundai, JVC Kenwood, Mazda, Pioneer and Subaru.
It will be available on other platforms, including desktop and popular connected devices, in the coming months.Music Business Worldwide