Friday, 20 October, 2017

Finally, Pandora's introducing an on-demand streaming service

Pandora debuts premium on-demand music tier Finally, Pandora's introducing an on-demand streaming service
Mae Harvey | 16 March, 2017, 00:46

The company is clearly trying to tempt existing Pandora Plus subscribers to upgrade their plans by offering six months of Pandora Premium for no additional charge.

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.

Second, Pandora Premium will have a hard time switching current users of competing subscription services, because they would have to go through learning a new app, building from scratch song lists, playlists, and a profile of music taste.

The company's ability to inexpensively transition 375,000 ad-supported users in Q4 to Pandora Plus strengthens Wedbush's faith in its ability to do the same with on-demand as Premium is rolled out over the coming months.

Pandora promises that everything you've already given a "thumbs up" to on its internet radio service will carry over into a Premium playlist, and it'll offer a "Browse" feature that offers personalized suggestions.

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Pandora Premium's "Add Similar Songs" feature appears to be a slightly better version of Spotify's automatically generating song radio stations. Every song you have ever given a thumbs-up will be waiting for you. Apple has more than 20 million subscribers to Apple Music.

"We look at the subscription (music) space and think we're kind of in the first-generation of products right now - it's essentially 30 million songs and a search box", Westergren said.

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. "With Premium, we're leveraging our enormous 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".

Users who aren't paying for Pandora Plus can sign up at the same page for access to the March 15 trial, but their trials will vary in length between 30 and 60 days. 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. Premium is available now for iOS and Android, in the vehicle via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and on Google Chromecast.

My Thumbs Up playlists. A few members of the press have had the chance to use Pandora Premium and shared their thoughts online today. Therefore, Pandora Premium has a big challenge to get subscribers and build critical mass amidst two very strong competitors. Pandora says Premium will land on the desktop and "popular connected devices" in "the coming months".

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