Pandora Premium: Popular free, but how about paid? | TechWatch

  • Pandora concert at SXSW
    Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images
March 20, 2017 -- 2:24 pm PDT
By Philip Merrill /

Rounding up recent tech news that impacts livelihoods in the creative community …

Pandora Premium launches paid subscription
On March 15 Pandora Premium launched its $9.99 paid subscription service on mobile. It offered 6-month trial periods to users of its $4.99 Pandora Plus tier at no extra charge. Founder and CEO Tim Westergren promised "a listening experience that sets a new standard for what a music service should be" because of the vast personal music data his company has aggregated. According to a recent consumer survey from Edison Research, only four streaming services were used by more than 10 percent of consumers during the previous month. SoundCloud had 11 percent and iHeartRadio 13 percent. Spotify tops out at 18 percent. Pandora was listened to by 32 percent of respondents — almost one out of every three consumers. With Pandora’s 81 million users, the Premium tier hopefully offers a new opportunity for money in creators' pockets.

Waze and Spotify integrate
On March 14 Google-owned Waze and Spotify updated and integrated their apps to make it easier to navigate music and driving info at the same time. Waze drivers can trigger Spotify actions, and Spotify listeners can control Waze from within the music app. For now, the app integration is Android exclusive. Putting a soundtrack to navigation as an extension of the dashboard will likely find a niche with some millennials. Google found this deal attractive even though Google Play and Google-owned YouTube Music both compete in the same market against Spotify.

Napster's cool cats and Android's Taste Test
On March 15 music service Napster launched a promotion for "cool cat" art clickable online to a personalized playlist through a partnership with Giphy. Separately, Google Android launched its Taste Test web wizard on March 12, leading visitors through graphic line-ups with simple choices to customize their phone theme. While being visual and fun, Taste Test also harvests some of the most personal and intimate knowledge about what users like. Google and Android can continue to gain big data insights from users' answers.

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