This week Pandora One took over the Pandora website. For the last few weeks you could choose between the old Pandora and the new site. Now it is just the new site. It is powered by HTML5 rather than Flash, and boasts unlimited music for free. Until recently, unless you were a paid subscriber ($36 per year) you were limited to 40 hours per month of listening time. The new Pandora One has a much larger play toolbar with play, pause, and skip buttons, as well as “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” voting buttons. In addition, the new site will soon have a number of “social features” and a music ticker feed, “a centralized place to find, like and comment on what friends and like-minded listeners are discovering and enjoying on Pandora. ”
What happens to the paid subscribers who have paid $36 for unlimited music? Now that Pandora One offers unlimited music to everyone, the paid subscribers are wondering what they get for their paid subscription. When Digital Trends asked that same question, Pandora responded “Pandora will continue to offer the Pandora One service. Pandora One subscribers enjoy unique benefits, including no ads of any kind, higher audio quality and other features such as easy access through a desktop application and customization options. ” For non-paying customers, ads appear on the right side.
The new changes are pretty spectacular. I liked the old Pandora just fine and had no trouble navigating the site, but the new site has some pretty cool features. According to the article by Digital Trends, “On the left side, users can type in the name of song or artist from the provided search tool, which will automatically generate a new station based on the selection. Below, a left-hand sidebar shows a list of all a user’s stations. Besides that, a window showing album art from the playlist, which can be clicked to pause or play the music, or vote the currently-playing song up or down. Lyrics from the current song, as well as an “about the artist” section appear below that. ” And as I mentioned above, for non-paying customers, ads appear on the right side. I am a paid subscriber, so I don’t have to look at those ads.
Pandora is still losing money. According to an article by Eric Savitz, Forbes, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield, who remains steadfastly bearish on the stock, cut his price target on the shares to $3.75, from $5.50. He points out that Pandora will not be among the companies participating on the music panel at Facebook developers’ conference, F8. As of today, the stock was listed as $10.78, down 17.28% in the last month.
Will Pandora be successful up against MOG, Spotify and Rdio? There are still limits to the Pandora One site. According to an article by Mark Hachman, PCMag, Pandora One is still only available in the United States, and one of the PCMag readers commented that the Pandora One site is being blocked by military firewalls. So it looks like unless Pandora One makes a few more changes, as well as stems the financial stock bail out, it may fail. That’s too bad because I really like the service. What do you think?
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