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Businesses Music The Almighty Buck

Pandora Debuts Premium On-Demand Music Tier (usatoday.com) 41

Pandora will now let you listen to whatever you want, for a price. The internet radio firm today announced Pandora Premium, for which it will charge customers $9.99 a month. From a report on USA Today: The new on-demand service Pandora Premium, which costs $9.99 monthly, lets subscribers choose and play any song or album and use new playlist creation features. Currently, Pandora's Internet radio can be listened to free with advertisements, but you cannot choose a specific song, only artists or a type of music. Listeners can give songs a thumbs up to hear more songs similar to that or thumbs down to not hear that track again on that station. Pandora will send out invitations to current select users on Wednesday, with options for all users to upgrade in coming weeks. Pandora hopes this new tier of service helps strengthen its position in the competitive music streaming market. It already reigns as the top music service in terms of overall listening, earning 28% of all streaming music hours in 2016, according to research firm MusicWatch.
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Pandora Debuts Premium On-Demand Music Tier

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Pandora is not boasting stream quality in this release, so I will assume it sucks.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Legitimate streaming competitors let me listen to whatever I want on demand for $0. Why should I pay Pandora anything?

    • It will also be ad-free, which you have to pay for on those other streaming sites as well.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Jango. All the features of Pandora and none of the ads.

        • Thanks for the pointer to Jango. One of Pandora's pluses was the ability to find new bands that were actually relevant, and not were just paid promos. For example, if I'm listening to jazz, I don't want Nickelback or Coldplay popping up next, because some promoter paid for their songs to be in every list.

          • One of Pandora's pluses was the ability to find new bands that were actually relevant, and not were just paid promos

            When Minecraft was still in beta I used to listen to Minecraft radio on Pandora. It had mostly ambient music.

            I tried again two years ago to listen to the station, and it had everything from One Direction to Metallica. It wound up becoming music people must have enjoyed while playing Minecraft, instead of something related to the Minecraft OST albums. Pandora could use a moderation system similar to Slashdot instead of a two-option thumbs up/down. I didn't want to thumbs down Metallica songs, because

            • I think you summed up well what is wrong with Pandora.

              I would say that the only music store that actually was consistently good at introducing new stuff in a genre would have been Microsoft Urge, as it was a joint effort between MTV and Microsoft, and at the time, the "M" in MTV was still relevant.

              What we need is a throwback to the original Pandora. Stay within a genre, and if it is intended to be an instrumental genre, don't toss in something completely irrelevant.

    • Being ad-free is worth something. I often listen to music while doing something else and that makes the attention-grabbing nature of ads extra annoying. $10/month is comparable to what other streaming services like Spotify charge for ad-free streams.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm totally not saying this is a bad idea, but I wonder within the people who want this "feature" enough to pay for it, what fraction would bother with streaming service at all, instead of just owning the music (and playing it off their own media or server)?

    It seems to me that if you have something specific that you want to hear right now, the chances that any particular service or store even has the album or song in question, can be pretty iffy. While there are many reasons that streaming services have den

    • by Orphis ( 1356561 )

      Probably a lot! Spotify 50M paying subscribers reported early this month, that's without all the ad-based users that are just potential subscribers too (over 100M total). Apple Music reported 20M subscribers too. Deezer is probably at 7M now. Tidal 3M.

      So yes, users are using those more and more as they are so convenient and the market growth isn't slowing at all. It should be good for some musicians eventually has revenue that went down year after year in most markets is finally growing too.

  • I dumped Pandora because of the crap they made paying subscribers put up with - skip counts being a big one.

    This might get me to re-evaluate Pandora, but honestly, this is about seven years too late.

    • skip counts being a big one.

      I'm really curious about that use case actually. Do you pick stations just based on "bands I liked at some point in time", or do you actually try to build them around a theme?

      Mostly asking because I almost never find myself having to skip songs. The only times I ever run up against the skip limit was when I first create a new station and haven't yet dialed it in to play the kind of music I wanted it to play. If the station is playing stuff that fits within the station but isn't what I want to hear at th

    • and about $70 per year too high.

      I was fine with Pandora at $30/year, then they boosted it to $36, I think now it's closer to $48... I hope they find lots of subscribers at $120/yr, I just won't be one of them.

      • by Pascoea ( 968200 )

        I hope they find lots of subscribers at $120/yr, I just won't be one of them

        I listen to, on average, 2-3 hours of streaming music/day. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm not the only one. 11-15 c/hour seems like a pretty good deal, if you ask me. I currently pay Google 10$/month because they have a lot of music I like on it and they do OK at building radio stations I like. Pandora is WAY better at dialing in stations, them offering up that functionality with the ability to just pick a song I want to listen to is enough to get me to consider ditching google and spending more t

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @03:37PM (#54031465)

    Actually having the files and not having to pay someone constantly for something you will never own and can be cut off at a moments notice.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @04:46PM (#54032069) Homepage

      Actually having the files and not having to pay someone constantly for something you will never own and can be cut off at a moments notice.

      Half of me agrees. The other half wants to slap you and say it's mass produced temporary entertainment, like if you go to the cinema or to the theater or to a concert does it matter that you can't put it in a box and take it home with you? I like convenience and hate DRM, but the whole "jukebox in the cloud" service can be pretty convenient too. I just get a bit tired of people that act like their copy is the last copy of the missing Doctor Who episodes and if it were lost it would be like the family album became ash. Which of course doesn't make it okay if they do bait and switch or mislead you about the terms, but it's no greater crime to rent a music collection than to lease a car. It's not like the world will run out of cars unless you buy and keep it for the rest of your life.

      • Half of me agrees. The other half wants to slap you and say it's mass produced temporary entertainment, like if you go to the cinema or to the theater or to a concert does it matter that you can't put it in a box and take it home with you?

        I rarely watch a movie more than once but I listen to the same songs rather often. I don't care for concerts, so I'm afraid I cannot relate on that matter.

        I like convenience and hate DRM, but the whole "jukebox in the cloud" service can be pretty convenient too.

        It's convenient as long as you have access to it. I put my entire music collection in FLAC on a microSD card and can listen to it when I walk my dog without worrying about if my phone has enough charge, data rates, cell phone coverage or any other bullshit because I have dedicated media player.

        it's no greater crime to rent a music collection than to lease a car.

        You're right, it's not but it is equally as foolish.

        • It's convenient as long as you have access to it. I put my entire music collection in FLAC on a microSD card and can listen to it when I walk my dog without worrying about if my phone has enough charge, data rates, cell phone coverage or any other bullshit because I have dedicated media player.

          Google Play (another $10/month on-demand add-free music streaming service) lets you download albums via wifi for playing later, so you don't need to worry about data rates or cell phone coverage. I would assume other similar services allow the same. Admittedly you're still SOL if you can't manage to keep your cell phone charged.

          • You can mark albums for download in Spotify, and they'll download when you're on wifi (or on mobile data, if you allow it). I believe the limit is 3000 songs.

            With GPM, you can download albums to times AFAIK, but they'll play in any player. With Spotify, you have to use their app, but there is no limit on how many times you can download an album.

        • I rarely watch a movie more than once but I listen to the same songs rather often. I don't care for concerts, so I'm afraid I cannot relate on that matter.

          That's probably why we differ. For me the streaming model is perfect because while I don't necessarily object to listening to the same song multiple times, what I like and don't like will vary depending on situation, mood, and circumstances. Sometimes I just want semi-rhythmic noise to block out other sounds, sometimes I want something that I can zone out to while programming, and sometimes I want to discover new music that sounds like some other song I heard and liked. I've also found that music I liked 1

          • I feel the exact same way. So much great new music is coming out all the time, and I like the variety. It would be horribly expensive for me to actually buy all of those albums, so in the past I resorted to illegal downloads.

            But I did buy the albums that I ended up loving, and I still do that. The only major difference is that my biggest source of new music is now legal $10/month, instead of illegal. And Spotify has some pretty good automatic recommendations that you don't get with torrents.

        • I rarely watch a movie more than once but I listen to the same songs rather often. I don't care for concerts, so I'm afraid I cannot relate on that matter.

          So you buy those albums that you love, as you have always done. But don't discount streaming services, by virtue of their huge user bases and gigantic libraries, they can generate really good recommendations for new music that may fit your taste. I haven't even used Spotify for that long, and I'm already discovering awesome new bands I'd never heard of before, and bought a couple of new albums from them.

          And honestly, you're missing out by not going to concerts, really. The music simply comes alive in a comp

    • Here's a novel idea:

      Use the $10/month streaming service to discover new bands, through functions such as recommendations, related artists, curated playlists. Enjoy the gigantic selection of good music that is available to you.

      If you happen to discover a band that you keep listening to, buy their albums!

      It's not an either/or situation.

      • by WallyL ( 4154209 )

        Here's another novel idea:

        Use the OTA radio in your region to discover new bands, through functions such as changing the channel and friends' and neighbors' recommendations. Enjoy the gigantic selection of mediocre music that is available to you.

        If you happen to discover a band that you keep listening to, buy their albums!

        It's not an either/or situation.

  • Too little too late Pandora. Google Play Music Family is $14.99 including ad-free YouTube Red.

    Up to 6 users can download music to up to 6 of thier devices. No mobile-streaming charges. No stupid skip-limit. Replay ad-nauseum.

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