Pandora launches new streaming service to compete with Spotify, Apple Music

Posted March 16, 2017

Free tier and new users will be able to try the new service in the coming weeks.

Pandora Premium looks like it will offer a more personal and catered streaming music service than Spotify.

Pandora officially launched its subscription streaming service, which will allow listeners to pick the song they want to play at any time and build their own playlists.

Pandora is planning a staggered rollout for its premium service on iOS and Android, with current Pandora users getting the first crack at trying it out.

But the question is, will people actually make the transition to a new platform?

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The on-demand functionality differentiates the Premium service from Pandora's other existing tiers, which now include an ad-supported tier, as well as a $4.99/month ad-free tier. Thumb up a few tracks on any Pandora radio station and Premium will automatically create a new playlist of these songs too. Banking on its superior internet radio service is a really smart move and negates the need for the algorithmic or handcrafted playlists that you'll find with the competing services. While Pandora is very late to the paid subscription game, a key differentiator will be its recommendation algorithm, which classifies every song along hundreds of dimensions to personalize its online radio service.

Pandora has, for nearly 20 years now, been offering internet users a personalized radio station they influence by giving songs a thumbs-up or a thumbs-downThis Smart Trick Keeps Your Pandora Stations Fresh This Smart Trick Keeps Your Pandora Stations Fresh Pandora is a great music service, but sometimes your stations get a little stale. And if that doesn't work, Pandora may have to open the discounted subscription price to new users, hoping big players like Spotify will not match.

With the release of Pandora Premium, all three streaming services will be offering pretty similar plans with customized playlists and offline listening. "With Premium, we're leveraging our vast 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". Premium is available now for iOS and Android, in the vehicle via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and on Google Chromecast. Pandora Plus is the $4.99 per month version that removes ads from the personalized internet radio service, as well as adding more skips. It will be available on other platforms, including popular connected devices and web, in the coming months.

If you want to take a trip down memory lane of your favorite songs, Pandora offers a My Thumbs Up playlist that compiles every song you've tapped the Thumbs Up icon for. Pandora, which hasn't been profitable in eight quarters, is trading 24% below where it began trading when the company went public in 2011. It'll also continue to add to this playlist for all songs you Thumbs Up going forward.