Pandora Announces $4.99 Pandora Plus Plan, Introduces Predictive Offline Mode

Pandora announced their new Pandora Plus $4.99 plan
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Pandora announced their new Pandora Plus $4.99 plan
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Pandora image by bnpositive, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0)

$4.99. Are you out of your mind?

Digital Music News has reported before on Pandora’s $5 plan, but today, it became official: Pandora has just launched their new Pandora Plus plan at $4.99. It replaces their current Pandora One plan at the same price.

Just like Pandora One, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite music on Pandora without having to listen to ads and much higher-quality streams. Current users won’t have to worry about seeing a change in their monthly statements, other than just a new name.

Is there anything new? Yes, of course, thanks for asking. You’ll be able to listen to your music without having to be connected to the internet. You’ll also get unlimited skips and replays with your new Pandora Plus plan. The offline plan will be better known as “predictive offline mode,” which will detect when your connection goes down. What exactly does predictive offline mode do? Pandora will restore your thumbprint radio station along with the last 3 radio stations you’ve listened to. Pandora Plus users will be alerted by an audio message when their connection drops.

Free users don’t have to worry about being left behind by Pandora’s new offering. They’ll be offered to skip songs and replay their favorites by viewing video ads. Pandora One users will be slowly migrated over to Pandora Plus over the next few months.

Pandora is still planning to release their $10 a month service later on this year to compete directly with Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify. In a statement, current Pandora CEO Tim Westergren said,

“Whether a listener wants to take advantage of our enhanced ad-supported experience, our ground-breaking subscription radio service, or our fully interactive on-demand option coming later this year, we have a solution tailored for you at a price point you can afford.”

With a lower price offering than other competitors, one concern both users and musicians have is, “How exactly will Pandora be able to turn a profit and pay out musicians fairly?” Digital Music News reader Ben Thinkin’ posted a question yesterday that rings even more true after Pandora’s latest announcement:

With the current streaming leaders charging $10 per month, the money has yet to trickle down to the artists. Pooling revenues means the price per stream is going down and down.

So surely cutting that revenue in half will solve this problem correct? I wonder why nobody thought of this before? What am I missing here?

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Their ace in the hole is music discovery. In my experience, they’re the best at it. I’ve always had far more luck discovering new music on Pandora than on Spotify or Apple. Their limited skips has always been a hindrance though. This new service removes the skips and lets me use it in an airplane and places where coverage is spotty.

    Since it’s not a full interactive offering, $5/month seems fair. Once the $10/month kicks in (it sounds like they’re just waiting to close their deal with WMG), if the music discovery is just as good as their current service, and it has all the functionality Spotify has, I may switch from Spotify to Pandora.