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PANDORA LAUNCHES
NEW RADIO SERVICE

As anticipated, Pandora has launched a new version of its ad-free Internet radio service. Pandora Plus takes the bridle off several restrictions, chiefly the ability to replay songs, skip multiple tunes and listen offline. And all for the low, low price of $4.99.

It replaces Pandora One, which had about 4m paying subscribers. It is Pandora’s first step toward a premium tier that would put it in direct completion with Spotify and Apple Music. Pandora Plus also offers higher-quality streams.

Earlier this week we noted that while deals were in place with UMG, Sony and a spate of indies to license music for the new offerings, the WMG deal was not yet done; stay tuned for updates on that front. We also reported that both Pandora and soon-to-be-streaming-rival Amazon were throwing down historically large advances.

“We’re methodically and passionately developing the world’s most personal music experience,” Pandora CEO and founder Tim Westergren said in a statement. “And that includes flexibility in how you listen and what you pay for it. Whether a listener wants to take advantage of our enhanced ad-supported experience, our groundbreaking subscription radio service or our fully interactive on-demand option coming later this year, we have a solution tailored for you at a price point you can afford."

The update will roll out on desktop and other devices by year’s end. The ad-based free side of Pandora will see changes as well, including the ability to replay tracks and, if an ad is watched, skip more songs.

The expansion has come about as Pandora has directly licensed the music from labels instead of paying government-set royalty rates. The move can be hailed as a new era for Pandora as it is the service’s first major change in 16 years.

Pandora, which has nearly 80m free subscribers, has long been valued as a music discovery mechanism that leads listeners to new music that aligns with their favorite artists, genres  and songs.

 

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