Pandora’s on-demand Apple Music/Spotify competitor launching this week after Rdio acquisition

This week Pandora is launching its on-demand music service with features like what other subscription services including Apple Music and Spotify offer. Before now Pandora has primarily served streaming radio stations based on artists and tracks. Pandora Premium opens the service’s catalog of music up to on-demand access for a monthly fee.

Like Apple Music, Pandora Premium will cost $9.99/month for on-demand music access, offline playback, and personalized stations and playlists. At first glance, the new subscription doesn’t appear to have anything super compelling that would make an Apple Music or Spotify subscriber jump services.

Here’s how Pandora details the new service features:

  • Playlists, not worklists: Start a playlist with one or two songs of your choice, tap “Add Similar Songs” and put the power of Pandora’s Music Genome Project to work to create the perfect playlist for any activity, mood or party.
  • All your thumbs up: Every song you’ve thumbed up on Pandora is immediately available in your “My Thumbs Up” playlist. Thumb up a few tracks on any Pandora radio station and Premium will automatically create a new playlist of these songs too.
  • New music for you… and only you: Browse is stocked with personalized suggestions for the latest releases from current and soon-to-be favorites whether you listen to classical, metal, jazz, hip hop, country, and everything in between.
  • Offline mode: Download albums, songs stations or playlists you want and bring an end to those moments of deafening silence when you lose a signal.
  • Search that knows you: 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.

Pandora’s new service is based on its $75 million acquisition of Rdio and it has an existing user base from its personalized station service. The company says Pandora Premium will be rolling out to existing users as a free trial later this week. Pandora Plus members (ad-free radio service) will have free access to the new on-demand service for six months.

Positives in Pandora’s camp: a clean user interface, a rich amount of personalization intelligence, and basic Apple Watch/Apple TV/CarPlay support for Apple users.

You can sign up to learn more about Pandora Premium here. Pandora’s iOS app is available for free on the App Store.

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