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Pandora unveils a new $5 ad-free service, but it’s not quite a Spotify competitor

It’s not the Spotify-style on-demand music service that the company promised, but Pandora’s next phase is here. Pandora Plus is a $5-per-month extension of its personalized radio service that removes advertisements, allows unlimited skips, and offers more control by letting listeners replay songs and save stations for offline listening. This includes a “predictive offline listening mode” that will automatically play a synced, offline station in the event that you suddenly lose connectivity. 

Pandora will also allow its tens of millions of nonpaying listeners to enjoy extra track skips (which are normally limited due to licensing restrictions) and replay songs. Both features can be unlocked temporarily by sitting through a video ad.

While the new paid tier will entice some Pandora power users with a hankering for more control (and fewer ads), it will do little to wow people already hooked on an on-demand streaming service like Spotify, Tidal, or Apple Music. For that, the wait continues: Pandora is expected to launch a full-blown $10-per-month subscription service later this year. JPT