After more than six months of teases, the first ever on-demand streaming option from Pandora is finally set for its official roll-out.
In an early-morning release distributed Monday (3/13), the Oakland, Calif.-based streaming audio company announced that Pandora Premium will officially launch this week.
What does this mean?
Invites for a free trial of Pandora Premium will be distributed “to select listeners” on Wednesday (3/15), with an option to upgrade available to all listeners “over the coming weeks.”
Pandora Premium is the much-ballyhooed $9.99 per month subscription tier that gives Pandora users the ability to search and play any track or album — mirroring what is largely available on competitors Spotify and iHeartMedia. Those companies’ audio streaming services are largely gaining on Pandora, based on data from the just-released 2017 Infinite Dial study conducted by Edison Research and Triton.
However, Pandora retains a dominant position as the top streaming audio choice, and Pandora founder and CEO Tim Westergren believes this will help to make Pandora Premium a desired option for many of its users.
“Every day tens of millions of people trust us to choose the exact right songs for them. That’s why they spend more time with Pandora than any other music service,” Westergren said. “With Premium, we’re leveraging our immense 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 listeners who start a trial will see all of their stations, “thumbed up” songs and a “Now Playing” experience, which pulls a signature color from the album art and changes as each track plays.
Pandora Premium also includes new features designed to make finding and collecting music and building playlists easy. These include playlists created through Pandora’s Music Genome Project (a similar feature to Apple’s Genius playlists), a “My Thumbs Up” playlist, new music suggestions, an offline mode, and a “search that knows you.”
On the latter feature, Pandora explains, “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. No more wading through covers, karaoke versions or tribute tracks to get to your favorite tune.”
As an introductory enticement, existing Pandora Plus subscribers will enjoy six months of Premium for no additional charge. Trial lengths for existing Pandora ad-supported listeners and those new to Pandora vary.
Premium is available now on iOS and Android phones, Google Chromecast, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and in cars from GM, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda and Subaru.
It will be available on other platforms, including desktop and popular connected devices, in the coming months, Pandora said.