Pandora Premium Takes the Service On-Demand

As we're talking a little about Pandora, I would be remiss to not mention the company's long-awaited foray into on-demand streaming is launching this week …

Fast Company:

The idea of launching a new music subscription service in 2017 would be utterly insane if it weren’t for one detail: Pandora already has 78 million monthly active listeners. If the company has a shot at competing, it will come primarily from its ability to upsell some of these listeners to its new $10 subscription tier. The rollout of Pandora Premium will be iterative and targeted. It begins this week and will continue through mid-April in phases, selectively coaxing existing Pandora users that might be likely to sign up based on their listening activity. People who hit the song-skipping limit or frequently thumb-up songs by the same artist, for instance, are prime targets for the new service.

Pandora is peddling a very polished, well-designed product, but it’s unlikely to reel in many people who are already committed to a service like Spotify or Apple Music. That’s because there’s very little here, aside from aesthetics and a legacy of smart music curation, that can’t be found on other services. Even perks like personalized new releases and the “add similar songs” button found their way into Spotify in the time that’s passed since Pandora acquired Rdio. Unfortunately for Pandora, Spotify has vastly improved its own curation and discovery features over the last year and a half. Pandora Premium is solid, but if you’re already invested in another service, you’re likely to find enough here to


Macworld on what, if anything, sets this service apart from the others:

Pandora Premium offers automated playlist generation: You choose one or two songs and the service creates a full playlist based on their properties. Other services have similar features. Apple’s iTunes Genius, for example, automatically creates playlists from a user’s personal playlist. The advantage for Pandora, however, is that its ability to match songs is widely considered superior to what other services can do {due to the company's long involvement in the Music Genome Project -ed}.

The company is also very proud of Premium’s search capabilities and even managed to throw some shade at other services when discussing it. “Pandora’s team of curators, music analysts and data scientists have sifted through tens of millions of tracks to help you quickly find what you really want,” Pandora said in its announcement. “No more wading through covers, karaoke versions or tribute tracks to get to your favorite tune.” Spotify’s vast catalog includes numerous karaoke, cover, and tribute tracks that often come up in a search before the song by the original artist.


Update: Jim Dalrymple over at The Loop is optimistic about Pandora's offering, citing a focus on catering to the listener as the key to making it a potential improvement over other services.