What Pandora’s letting out of the Box: Pandora Premium the New Web App
Pandora’s on-demand online music streaming service, Pandora Premium, is now available as a web app for a fee of $10 per month. Pandora Premium includes the ability to search and play any song, create playlists, unlimited skips, and replays, higher quality audio than its other services, and listening without ads. Its basic service is ad-supported and does not allow on-demand streaming, and Pandora Plus offers unlimited stations, four stations of offline listening, unlimited skips and replays, higher quality audio, and no ads.
Pandora Premium was first introduced in late 2016 and for a short time was only available by invite-only. Shortly after this invite-only period access was granted to everyone in the United States.
This service offers full, on-demand access to tens of millions of songs and operates similarly to Spotify or Apple Music. Pandora Premium has had limited availability in the past because of its invite-only policy and because it used to be available only on Android, IOS, Chromecast, and connected car platforms. This availability has been extended to Amazon’s Fire-branded devices, Android TV, and Xfinity X1 in the recent past, but will be further extended to PCs and MACs through its new web app.
While Pandora has failed to offer a desktop app for this service, it now has a web-based app, which Pandora subscribers have repeatedly requested. This web app will allow offline listening if you download the music, but it does not have a desktop app. There has been no confirmation of whether a desktop app is being constructed for Pandora, but Pandora has talked of making a family plan for this app. This family plan would allow members of the same account to stream on multiple devices.
The problem for Pandora is that none of these improvements are new or innovative to the music industry. Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play have all offered on-demand, and ad-free streaming, as well as access to multiple devices for years. Pandora has struggled to keep up with these other music streaming services despite its 20 years in the industry. Pandora’s Q4 reports are being announced this week, and there is hope that the drop in active listeners Pandora has seen for the last three quarters will come to an end. Shares have dropped 40% because of the last quarter report that showed a decrease in usage and less ad revenue is available to Pandora. Pandora streaming is built off of ad revenue.
While Pandora premium passed 1 million subscribers in October, this is still a far cry from the subscribers to Spotify, Google Play, and Apple Music. Pandora must continue to evolve and develop if it wants to compete in music production and streaming.