Pandora is stepping up to directly compete with Spotify, Google Play, and Apple Music.
Pandora was one of the first big players in the music streaming game, with it's one-of-a-kind Music Genome Project powering a song recommendation engine that blew our collective minds over 15 years ago, and it continues to impress to this day. But in the time since, the field has become extremely competitive, with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Spotify, and many others all jumping into the premium music streaming service, offering users the freedom to browse and listen to over 40 million tracks.
Now, Pandora is preparing to take everything it's learned from its internet radio business and transition it over to compete against the big dogs with Pandora Premium.
Pandora first announced Pandora Premium back in December and now, thanks to the folks at The Verge, we now know a whole lot more about what to expect from the service when it starts rolling out later this month.
For starters, if you're already a Pandora user, the Premium service will take all the songs you've ever given a thumbs-up to and intelligently create playlists out of them. Banking on its superior internet radio service is a really smart move and negates the need for the algorithmic or handcrafted playlists that you'll find with the competing services. You'll also be able to tap one button and have Pandora intelligently add songs similar to the one you're listening to to the playlist, so you spend less time building playlists and more time listening to music.
You should expect to get the same expansive library of songs as you'd find with Apple Music and Spotify, except Pandora has smartly gone ahead and culled any karaoke, tributes, and duplicate tracks from its catalogue. That move will help users find the actual songs they're looking for while clearing out some of the noise from search results.
Entering the premium music streaming segment this late might seem like a tough task, with over 100 million people already subscribed and committed to their streaming service of choice. But Pandora is hoping that its simplified interface, built off of its free internet radio service, which has been used by over 250 million users, will attract those who have yet to subscribe to a premium music service.
Pandora is planning a staggered rollout for its premium service on iOS and Android, with current Pandora users getting the first crack at trying it out. New users and those using Pandora's free radio service will get to try Pandora Premium free for 2 months, while subscribers to Pandora Plus will get a 6-month trial of the new service. Existing Pandora users will receive their invitations to try out Pandora Premium starting on March 15.
You can sign up to receive your invitation to Pandora Premium here, but keep in mind that the service is still only available to users in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.
Will you be planning to check out Pandora Premium? Which music streaming services do you use? Let us know in the comments!