When I was first introduced to the world of streaming music, it was all about the internet radio site Pandora. In a time before almost every song ever created was available to stream for ten dollars a month, Pandora was the single greatest way to listen to music without actually having to buy albums.
The idea was fantastic at the time: you type in your favorite band/song at the time and you’d get an online channel of your own, giving the thumbs up/thumbs down to customize the music it as you see fit. It felt like you were running your own radio station. Well, minus the zany morning show.
However, Pandora created a system that soon became a normal part of other platforms. The big names in on-demand streaming such as Spotify and Google Play Music have dedicated “radio” features that definitely didn’t copy Pandora. Kind of like how Instagram’s Stories feature definitely didn’t copy Snapchat Stories.
In response to the growing amount of on-demand music, Pandora has made some new changes to keep up with the times. The free version now allows you to skip more songs and even replay your favorite tunes, with the $5 per month Pandora Plus allowing you to do both with offline capability and no commercials.
This recent overhaul was definitely necessary to keep up with modern times. However, considering for a few dollars more you can choose pretty much any song you’d like on-demand and ad-free, Pandora may soon find itself obsolete.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed Pandora since the first time I tried it out. As an angsty punk rock teenager, it helped turn me on to such great music as Black Flag, Anti-Flag and Wire’s album Pink Flag. You know, all the essential flag-related music.
However, Pandora may not be able to keep up with its competitors forever. While Pandora was the giant of music streaming and continues to boast plenty of users, the simple fact is that the internet radio site is a victim of its own success. It created a great way to listen to randomized music online, but faces tough competition in an on-demand world.
Despite these factors, Pandora has continued to find success despite so many other music streaming options becoming available. In the top charts of both the App Store and Google Play Store, Pandora is well ahead of all other music apps such as Spotify and iHeartRadio. Additionally, with an additional $10 per month version to be unveiled in December, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the internet radio service.