Pandora has introduced Pandora Plus, a new ad-free subscription service that builds upon Pandora One with unlimited song skips and replays and a new predictive offline mode for $4.99 per month. Meanwhile, users of its existing ad-supported tier will gain the ability to skip more songs and replay songs by watching video ads.
The new predictive offline mode automatically detects when you lose your data connection and switches to one of your top stations.
The Verge explained the feature in more detail:
Pandora says it will automatically save your thumbprint radio station as well as your three most recently listened to stations in case you lose your connection or request offline listening. The app will automatically determine which of the four stations to switch to based on your recent listening, and when your signal drops, it will alert you with an audio message acknowledging that your connection has been lost and that it will switch to an offline station.
Pandora CEO Tim Westergren also confirmed it will launch an on-demand option "later this year" to compete with the likes of Apple Music and Spotify.
“We’re methodically and passionately developing the world’s most personal music experience,” said Tim Westergren, founder and CEO at Pandora. “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."
Pandora Plus and the new ad-supported features launch in the U.S. today and will be rolling out to iOS and Android smartphone users over the coming months. The subscription service will expand to Australia and New Zealand in 2017.
Pandora currently provides free, ad-supported radio stations centered around particular artists or songs, rather than offering on-demand listening like Apple Music. By offering only randomized, radio-like stations that prevent users from playing specific songs, it has been able to bypass licensing agreements with major record labels.