Pandora, the popular music streaming service, has confirmed that its new Premium offering will launch this week. In addition to Pandora's traditional radio station approach, Premium will provide users with Spotify-like on-demand listening and greater access to preferred tracks, both on and offline.
Since its launch, Pandora has been limited to algorithm-based radio stations, created around artists, genres or songs. Pandora Premium is the company's first true rival to Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, as users can finally choose from a large catalog of music to listen to on-demand.
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In addition to that core functionality, Pandora Premium also offers perks like starting a playlist based off of one or two songs, with Pandora's algorithms adding similar songs based on the selection (essentially the company's radio smarts transferred to playlist format). Subscribers will also have access to a "My Thumbs Up" playlist, where all songs that have received a "thumbs up" through the years will be accessible. The improved browse and search functions use listening history to increase the likelihood of finding quality content that suits your needs and tastes.
The company's predictive offline feature, previously available in the US$4.99/mo. Pandora Plus tier, will also make its way to Premium. It determines which stations, playlists and songs you listen to the most, and automatically downloads them for offline playback. (Like Spotify and Apple Music, you can also manually download music.)
Pandora will start sending out free trial invitations to select users starting March 15. Existing Pandora Plus subscribers will be offered a six month free trial. Alternatively, you can request an invite from the Pandora website. An upgrade option will be rolled out to all users in the coming weeks. The service will cost $9.99 per month, which falls right in step with its rivals.