pandoraStreaming radio service Pandora is getting ready to introduce two new on-demand paid subscription tiers, in addition to keeping its popular free option available, according to people familiar with the matter speaking with The Wall Street Journal.

The company is said to be "close to inking deals" with some major record companies that will let it expand the two new tiers in both the United States and some markets overseas.

The most expensive subscription is said to be $10 per month and grant users unlimited access to tens of millions of songs on Pandora, bringing the internet radio streaming service closer to that of Spotify and Apple Music. The company will then slightly tweak its existing $5 per month ad-free option with a few new perks like skipping songs, offline listening, and more.

While competing with the likes of Spotify, Apple and other $10-a-month service providers may be difficult, some music-industry executives believe that Pandora’s planned $5-a-month tier presents a bigger opportunity for the business, potentially unlocking new revenue from consumers who want a bit more control over their listening experience but wouldn’t pay $10 a month.

First launched in 2000, Pandora has never had to get individual permission from record labels to play their music since its services offer only randomized, radio-like "stations" that prevent users from playing specific songs. Since its new model will add these on-demand listening features for its users, Pandora now has to partner with various record labels in addition to the broad internet radio licensing fees it pays.

The company hopes its new business model attracts subscribers, since it's seen a "listenership plateau" over the past few years with 80 million active monthly users, about 4 million of which are paying $5 per month to avoid ads between songs. Currently, the radio features of Pandora are available in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, but the potential new markets overseas it will expand to have not yet been disclosed.

Also left unspecified was a release date for the new on-demand streaming tiers beyond sometime in the fall. For those who don't have it, you can download the Pandora app for free from the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Pandora

Top Rated Comments

Dormammu Avatar
101 months ago
I just signed up for Apple Music last week too. I was a bit on the fence since before Apple Music I was a Pandora user. Pandora has a very small catalog of music; I constantly heard the same same songs over and over. Also, no on demand listening. With a paid Pandora one subscription, you were still limited in the "skips" you had. Going to Apple Music's $9.99/mo plan was a no brainer for me. I'm loving Apple Music so far.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zubikov Avatar
101 months ago
But their catalog is so small. Sure they have a great radio algorithm, but it's way too repetitive to be good at music discovery. I dunno if I would fork $10/mo or whatever it will be to gain access to 1/30th of the catalog that Apple or Google have.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SharksFan22 Avatar
101 months ago
I just wanted to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you.
... And stop calling me Shirley.

(@thisisnotmyname - Nice reference to the classic "Airplane" quote!)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macosxuser01 Avatar
101 months ago
Do people still listen to Pandora? It's not 2010 anymore people
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
101 months ago
But their catalog is so small. Sure they have a great radio algorithm, but it's way too repetitive to be good at music discovery. I dunno if I would fork $10/mo or whatever it will be to gain access to 1/30th of the catalog that Apple or Google have.
Exactly. Why would you pick a much smaller catalog over the huge catalogs of Apple Music or Google, for the same price?

"There's too much music. I want less for my money."
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
101 months ago
I liked Pandora a long time ago, but got spoiled by the ability to play songs on demand that I wanted and never really went back to them. Now I'm on the 4 month trial for Google Play Music with the YouTube Red along with it. I'm really liking that extra perk and have already dumped Spotify.
Play Music and Red are great. Best bang for the buck, imo.

I agree on Apple Music. Also Google Play Music and Spotify if you don't care about parental controls is the way to go if you want to hear more than the same top 20 songs over and over again.
Confused about your parental controls claim. I have a Play Music family plan. Both my daughters (iP6 and Moto G) have explicit lyrics blocked. Not sure about Spotify though.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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