Pandora Looks to Drown Out Criticism With Premium Launch on Wednesday

Pandora Looks to Drown Out Criticism With Premium Launch on Wednesday

Pandora Looks to Drown Out Criticism With Premium Launch on Wednesday

The on-demand service had always been expected, as the company announced plans for it in September when it rolled out another subscription tier, Pandora Plus.

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.

Oakland's Pandora Media on Monday launched its long-awaited on-demand premium music service, providing a late but potentially formidable competitor to Spotify and Apple Music.

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

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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. The same goes for any songs you thumb up in a playlist, which essentially means the old Pandora radio you've known for years is jammed inside of Pandora Premium. 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. Wedbush believes that the vast majority of Pandora Plus subscribers (over 4 million) will trade up to the higher-priced on-demand service over time. In an update last December, Apple Music topped 20 million subscribers after 18 months on the market.

"Every day tens of millions of people trust us to choose the exact right songs for them". "With Premium, we're leveraging our huge 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".

Pandora Premium is available now on Android, iOS, and Chromecast, with Pandora promising to add support for other platforms in the future.

Pandora has 80 million monthly users but recently announced layoffs amid unease over its model of online radio stations, which most listeners access for free. The firm's estimate of $368 million in subscription revenue for 2017 contemplates 5.7 million Pandora Plus subscribers and 2.0 million Pandora Premium subscribers. 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. Pandora says Premium will land on the desktop and "popular connected devices" in "the coming months". There's also a My Thumbs Up playlist that includes every song you've ever liked. It'll also continue to add to this playlist for all songs you Thumbs Up going forward.

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