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In the U.S. at least, music streaming is now more popular than digital downloads. Premium music services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer are also growing in popularity. This upward trend should continue, especially now that another familiar name has introduced its own streaming music service Pandora Launches a Premium Music Streaming Service Pandora Launches a Premium Music Streaming Service Pandora is launching an on-demand music streaming service to rival Spotify and Apple Music. The question is can Pandora Premium differentiate itself from the competition? Read More . Pandora Premium arrives a few months after the company purchased key assets from the now-defunct Rdio Pandora Buys Rdio, Google Answers Questions, the $10 Android... [Digest] Pandora Buys Rdio, Google Answers Questions, the $10 Android... [Digest] Pandora picks over the bones of Rdio, Google gains intelligence, Walmart sells a cheap Android handset, the Tears of Joy emoji wins Word of the Year, and how to build a time machine, theoretically speaking. Read More .

Will Pandora Premium Find Success?

It remains an open question whether Pandora Premium will find success. However, the company does have 81 million reasons to be optimistic. That is, if you hadn’t already guessed, the number of active users who listen to Pandora each month. By comparison, there are 50 million Spotify Premium subscribers and 20 million paying customers to Apple Music.

If Pandora can turn just 10 percent of those listeners into paying customers, Pandora Premium would become the third most-popular music streaming service, ahead of Deezer, which has 6.9 million users.

What Does Pandora Premium Offer?

Generally speaking, Pandora Premium is very similar to other subscription-based music streaming services. For $9.99 per month, you have unlimited access to millions of songs that you can listen to or download for offline use across multiple platforms.

So why try it? As a long-time Spotify Premium subscriber Is It Worth Upgrading to Spotify Premium? Is It Worth Upgrading to Spotify Premium? Spotify Free brings you tons of music at no cost, but are the extra features of Spotify Premium worth shelling out for? Let's find out... Read More (which is well worth the upgrade), I was excited to put Pandora Premium throught its paces. Having tested the new music subscription service for a couple of weeks, we have come up with six reasons it’s worth giving a spin.

1. Pandora Premium Focuses on What You Love

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Spotify Premium is its many curation tools that help you find new music to enjoy. Curation is also a part of Pandora Premium, but not to the same degree. Instead, the focus here is on providing easy access to the songs and albums you already love.

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pandora premium my music

Under the “My Music” tab, you’ll find recently played songs, albums, and stations. Better still, Pandora Premium sorts this content in reverse chronological order, which pushes the stuff you listen to most on Pandora The Best Mac Apps For Listening To Pandora The Best Mac Apps For Listening To Pandora Love Pandora, but not in your browser? Here are the best Mac apps for the job – regardless of whether you're a Pandora One subscriber. Read More right to the top.

I’ll never grow tired of finding new music through Spotify Premium, but I can recognize that not everyone likes getting lost in new music. For those folks, Pandora Premium might be a better solution.

2. Pandora Premium Offers Curation Tools

Although it takes a toned down approach, Pandora Premium does still offer a selection of curation tools. Under “Browse,” you’ll find new music that’s tailored to you every week, including recommendations based on the albums and genres that your history says you like.

pandora premium browse

You’ll also find sections that include the top songs and albums that are being enjoyed by other Pandora Premium users.

3. Pandora Premium Ups Its Search Game

Pandora Premium has 40 million songs in its library, which compares nicely with other services. What you won’t find here, however, are things like karaoke tracks, knock-off tributes, and duplicate tracks, which Pandora says slow down other services when it comes to search.

pandora radio search

Regarding the time it takes to perform a search, I haven’t noticed much of a difference between Pandora Premium and other similar services such as the new Napster The New Napster: Even Better Than the Old Napster? The New Napster: Even Better Than the Old Napster? Did you know that Napster still exists today, even though it's a completely different service than the old Napster? Let's see how the new Napster compares to the old Napster. Read More . However, I have noticed that the results seem less cluttered on Pandora Premium, even though the actual content is essentially the same.

Now that I know Pandora Premium doesn’t include odd-sounding cover tracks, I’ll take a closer look in the future.

4. Giving Pandora Premium the Old Thumbs Up

Thumbing tracks up and down has always been an important part of listening to Pandora Radio. The premium service retains this feature, but with extra bells and whistles.

First, right out of the box, Pandora has kept track of every song you’ve ever thumbed up across all your stations and added them to a “My Thumbs Up” playlist in Pandora Premium. Yes, every song.

pandora premium auto playlist

Additionally, whenever you give a track the thumbs up in a radio station, the song is automatically added to a playlist for that station. To do it again just add another song. You can either enjoy this playlist or forget about it. Regardless, you now have another place to find music you already love. You can manually remove these tracks from the playlist or download them to your device.

Want more content to enjoy in a playlist This Smart Trick Keeps Your Pandora Stations Fresh This Smart Trick Keeps Your Pandora Stations Fresh Pandora is a great music service, but sometimes your stations get a little stale. Here's an easy way to improve them without any effort. Read More ? Just click “Add similar songs” and Pandora will use a special algorithm to introduce new content based on what’s already there.

For example, I thumbed up five songs from the Classic Rock Radio station, which automatically created a new playlist. These songs included “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Hotel California” by the Eagles, “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield, and “House Of The Rising Sun” by The Animals.

After clicking “Add similar songs,” Pandora added five additional tracks from groups like The Mamas & The Papas and Lynyrd Skynyrd. A good match, no?

There’s a similar solution for when you want to create a manual playlist. After you add a few songs, and with some help from the Music Genome Project, Pandora Premium will add similar songs with just a click of a button. That way, you’ll always have music playing.

5. Pandora Premium’s Sleek New Interface

While some services like to pack lots of information on a single screen, Pandora Premium takes a different approach. Its main pages are intuitive and approachable, while its “Now Playing” page is just beautiful, as you can see here:

pandora premium now playing

Throughout, you’ll find menus and controls that just seem to make sense.

6. Pandora Premium Keeps It Family Friendly

Pandora Premium has recognized that explicit music isn’t for everyone. Because of this, it allows you to remove this content from Pandora Premium radio stations and search. Just toggle “Allow explicit content” to the Off position under your account settings.

What’s Missing From Pandora Premium

There are two things you won’t see on Pandora Premium.

The first is exclusive albums and content. As Pandora CEO Tim Westergren told The Verge:

That’s not a focus for us. I don’t really think that’s a winning strategy for anybody — either services or the artist or labels.

Second is the unique Autoplay feature that made Rdio great. With Autoplay, you could keep the music playing by auto-starting a station based on what was recently played. That way, the music would never end unless and until you hit Pause. Luckily, Autoplay is scheduled to arrive in a future Pandora Premium update.

Give Pandora Premium a Spin

I’m pleasantly surprised by Pandora Premium and plan on continuing to use it through my free 60-day trial. It offers a refreshing new way to listen to music legally 7 Sites To Get Free Music (Legally!) 7 Sites To Get Free Music (Legally!) If you're the type of person who loves tending to a vast music collection, there are still ways to get free music. Here are seven websites to get you started... Read More .

For long-time Pandora Radio users, I would strongly recommend Pandora Premium. It provides a familiar setup with lots of new goodies. Subscribers to other premium services should also take Pandora’s new service out for a test drive. It might not provide the perfect fit, but, depending on your preferences, it could still be worth your time and consideration.

Pandora Premium is being rolled out gradually. To grab yourself an invite, be sure to visit the official Pandora Premium website. Existing Pandora Plus users will be offered six months of Pandora Premium for free. Non-Pandora Plus users will receive a two-month free trial.

Are you planning on trying Pandora Premium? Please let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Dominic Tufo
    April 10, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I've always treated Pandora like a first girlfriend. She was great the first time but as other services came out, I got curious about them and left Pandora. But for some reason, whether it's my very eclectic and I mean eclectic musical palate and how bored I get with one genre, no service other than Pandora offers to shuffle all your stations. So yes, I can go from Mumford and Sons to AC/DC to Tesla and 80's and back to Metallica and country even. To me that's the money maker, such a under utilized feature for some, but by far my favorite. So when Premium was released I was quick to try and love it. It's still a little buggy out of the gate, but does what I want it to do. So I guess, I'm back with my first love again. It a bad thing right?

    • C McDonnell
      May 17, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      I'm a Pandora Plus subscriber and briefly tried Pandora Premium. I liked it a lot except for the offline listening. Plus automatically downloads your top 3 stations plus your Thumbprint Station which for me means continuous listening in the car without having to fiddle with my car audio at all and get distracted. Also, the stations don't take up space on my phone. As long as the Plus Service is available, I'll be happy. I've tried all the major services and Pandora is my favorite, the price is affordable as well.