Pandora Premium: New Service Aims To Compete With Spotify, SoundCloud

Pandora debuts premium on-demand music tier

Users will be able to pay $9.99 a month to search for and play whatever they want, whenever they want.

Pandora Premium builds playlists based on one or two songs of your choice, using The Music Genome Project that powers Pandora Radio. Apple has more than 20 million subscribers to Apple Music. "If this is your first time signing up for a streaming service, you'd be hard-pressed to find an easier experience".

Pandora said in a press release on Monday that any songs given a "thumbs up" by users would automatically be added to a new thumbs up playlist. Existing Pandora users will receive their invitations to try out Pandora Premium starting on March 15. Wedbush's 2017 revenue estimate may prove to be conservative, and it thinks Pandora could deliver upside should conversion to on-demand scale more rapidly than it has modeled.

All of this sounds great, but Pandora's fighting an uphill battle against Spotify, which has 50 million subscribers to its paid service and over 100 million users overall. If you're a student, you can get Spotify Premium for just $4.99/month, and families (up to six users) can get Spotify Premium for $14.99/month.

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You'll also get a cleaner look with Pandora Premium, which appears to have kept the minimalist look that made Rdio (which Pandora bought) popular among those who appreciate well-designed apps.

Now, Pandora is preparing to take everything it's learned from its internet radio business and transition it over to compete against the big dogs with Pandora Premium.

How are they the same?

Pandora's unique advantage is its understanding of what users like, making the service like "a friend you have known for a while", Westergren said.

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Offline mode: Download albums, songs stations or playlists you want and bring an end to those moments of deafening silence when you lose a signal.

If you want more than music, you might be out of luck.

The Verge reports that there's no ability to edit the Up Next queue now, which seems like a mistake on Pandora's part that should be remedied soon. It'll also continue to add to this playlist for all songs you Thumbs Up going forward. But in the time since, the field has become extremely competitive, with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Spotify, and many others all jumping into the premium music streaming service, offering users the freedom to browse and listen to over 40 million tracks.

Every song thumbed up on Pandora is immediately available in a "My Thumbs Up" playlist. On the downside, early adopters better be OK with sticking to their mobile devices and Chromecasts, as other connected devices won't be supported at launch.

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