Pandora Premium is the latest music streaming service you won’t buy

Familiar sounds?
Familiar sounds?
Image: Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP
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Here’s a thrilling new idea: For the low price of $10 a month, music service Pandora will give you on-demand access to a millions-strong library of songs from artists across the world. Plus, playlists, personalized radio stations, and more!


It’s not the premise of Pandora’s new Premium subscription plan that’s the problem; rather, the sheer repetitiveness. In a blog post announcing Pandora Premium today, the company boasted about the platform’s ”completely reimagined music service” that can “open up a world of music completely unique to you.” There are more than a dozen music streaming services offering near-replicas of the exact same deal, down to pricing, features, and even marketing language.

To its credit, Pandora Premium—which will roll out in early 2017—pledges a number of niche features, such as a music-recommendation engine built off of data from its current base of 78 million casual users of online radio-style listeners. But the platform will inevitably come up against the same issue that SoundCloud, and any other new music streaming service that’s tried to make a name for itself in 2016, does: this is a market that’s almost been squeezed dry by bigger players.

Industry leader Spotify currently claims around 40 million paying subscribers; Apple Music is now at a close second, announcing yesterday that it’s hit 20 million. The rest of the pie is being desperately grabbed at by players like Tidal and Amazon, the latter of which only stands a chance in music streaming (despite a late entry) because of its already-massive base of general consumers.

For Pandora, it’ll almost definitely be a case of too little, too late.