The monthly, ad-free subscription gets some much-needed new features.
Pandora, days after announcing that it had struck deals with two of three major labels, the world's largest umbrella of independents Merlin, and many others -- "a watershed moment for us," CEO Tim Westergren tells Billboard -- the digital radio giant has now pulled the curtain back on the first of two product launches expected from the Oakland-based company this year.
Pandora One, the $4.99-per-month ad-free subscription the company has offered since 2009, is now Pandora Plus. Many things stay the same between each, including the price and simple interface of the app.
But One has added a key feature for flyers and subway riders: offline listening. "Enough to go from San Francisco to New York," says Chris Becherer, the product vp who gave Billboard a brief preview of the new features. Four stations are saved automatically (only when your phone is on wifi, unless you tell it to suck them up over cellular data), and switched to if signal is lost. (Users can't set the amount of storage space the app uses.) The four playlists are the three most-recent and most-listened-to stations on your account and Thumbprint Radio, generated in part by the thumbs up that users give songs as they listen.