Pandora is reportedly on the verge of launching into the on-demand streaming market, in a move that will see the Internet radio service go head-to-head with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal.
According to Wall Street Journal sources Pandora is “close to reaching deals with major record companies that will allow it to do so [offer on-demand streaming] both in the US and in new overseas markets, though the agreements haven’t been finalised”.
If WSJ’s sources are indeed correct, it is possible that Pandora will be making a splash in the on-demand streaming market as early as next month, while a global rollout of its free radio service looks set to be introduced by the end of 2016.
“We absolutely are committed to and believe we’re optimistic we’ll achieve a timeline where we can launch products by the end of this year,” Pandora CFO Mike Herring told analysts in July.
Meanwhile, Pandora COO Sara Clemens believes that its on-demand streaming product could be rolled out worldwide over the next few years.
“We are focused on rolling out the new on-demand product in our existing markets first, but absolutely see global as part of our path to 2020 and we’ll be working with the industry on those licensing deals going forward,” added COO Sara Clemens.
A move into on-demand streaming for Pandora could well provide market leader Spotify with pause for thought, given its heft in the US market. The company reported listener numbers in excess of 78 million in its Q2 report, with listening hours coming in at 5.66 billion. However, its key challenge will be introducing the brand and its services to those outside of the domestic US market and developing its offering sufficiently to compete with the personalised offering currently delivered by Spotify, such as its Discover Weekly feature and bespoke round up of weekly new releases.
That said, the company has recently added a new charts feature aimed at identifying the best new music, as well as new live features in its app, including concert recommendations, show reminders and easy access to tickets.