Pandora Premium on-demand music streaming service to launch this week

Pandora Media on Monday joined the online, on-demand music-streaming industry, as the Oakland-based internet radio company officially announced the debut of its new Pandora Premium service.

The new music-streaming option will cost $9.99 a month and will let Pandora subscribers for the first time have control over what songs they want to hear at any time without any advertisements. Pandora said it will send invitations to “select listeners” for a free trial of Pandora Premium on Wednesday, and will give all of its subscribers the option to upgrade over the next few weeks.

“We’re leveraging our immense trove of data and everything we’ve learned about personalization to offer a listening experience that sets a new standard for what a music service should be,” Pandora Chief Executive Tim Westergren’s statement reads.

The service builds on Pandora’s current Pandora Plus option, which costs $4.99 a month and gives users the ability to play repeats of songs, skip an almost unlimited number of songs and not have to listen to commercials. Pandora has about 4.4 million Pandora Plus subscribers.

And those current subscribers will get a bonus, as Pandora will offer them six months of Pandora Premium for free. Pandora said trial lengths for customers that subscribe to its free ad-supported service, as well as new members, “will vary.” Pandora ended 2016 with 81 million total subscribers.

Pandora announced plans for Pandora Premium last fall and said it would launch the service during the first quarter of this year. The launch announcement comes 10 days after Spotify said it now has 50 million paid subscribers to its on-demand music-streaming platforms. Apple Music, one of the other big rivals in online music, claims to have 20 million subscribers paying $10 a month for its service.

Pandora said Pandora Premium will initially be available for Apple iOS devices and Android phones, Google Chromecast, and integrated into the dashboard systems of several car makers. The company said a version of Pandora Premium for the desktop will be available “in the coming months.”

Photo: Pandora’s logo seen at the New York Stock Exchange. (Richard Drew/AP)


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