Competition in the music streaming business is further heating up. Following the launch of a revamped Apple Music app in iOS 10 and the announcement from Spotify that it now has 40 million subscribers, Pandora has now introduced a new Pandora Plus service and has also made its next major move known.
The new service is called Pandora Plus, and it’s essentially an improvement over Pandora One, hitherto the eponymous music streaming company’s top-tier online radio service.
Pandora Plus offers unlimited skips and replays. Perhaps more notably, it features a “predictive offline mode” that smartly addresses connection issues so as to keep stations playing even when Wi-Fi or cellular data suddenly becomes unavailable.
The company says its “predictive offline mode” can detect when you lose signal and switch to one of your preferred stations so the music doesn’t stop abruptly like it does on every other music streaming service. 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.- The Verge, explaining how Pandora Plus' "predictive offline mode" works
Pandora Plus makes its debut today on the web and is set to make its way to Pandora’s iOS and Android apps in the coming months. Pandora Plus costs $4.99 a month, as with Pandora One, and existing Pandora One subscribers will be automatically switched to Pandora Plus.
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Apart from Pandora Plus, Pandora’s ad-supported tier now allows users to skip more songs and replay songs by watching video ads.
Pandora Plus and the updated ad-supported tier are initially available in the U.S. only, with their expansion to Pandora’s other serviced countries, Australia and New Zealand, scheduled for next year.
Pandora on demand
For quite some time, Pandora had been rumored to be preparing to launch an on-demand music streaming service to complement its core automated music recommendation offerings. Doing so would better position the company as a major rival to Apple Music and Spotify.
Now, Pandora has confirmed that it is working on such a service, which is “coming later this year.”
We’re methodically and passionately developing the world’s most personal music experience. 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.- Tim Westergren, founder and CEO of Pandora
Pandora’s upcoming on-demand service is said to match those of Apple and Spotify with a subscription rate of $9.99 per month. Presumably, it incorporates technologies from the now defunct music streaming service Rdio, which Pandora acquired late last year.