The fact that technology giant Amazon and internet radio service Pandora were both looking to expand their presence in the subscription music streaming market for smartphones — currently dominated by Spotify and Apple Music — is already well-known. And the New York Times reported Sunday the two companies are close to finalizing deals with record labels, setting up a challenge for the established players.
Amazon already offers streaming music, albeit a limited catalogue, to its Prime customers who also get streaming video, free shipping and other benefits for $99 a year. The company is expected to offer two new full catalogue services: An all-you-can-stream service for $10 a month — like Spotify and Apple Music — and the other that offers the same service for $5 a month if you use Amazon’s Echo hardware.
It was reported last month by Recode that Amazon could launch its services in September.
Pandora’s internet radio service doesn’t let listeners choose songs at all, instead allowing them only to indicate their preferences. Its paid service removes advertising from the playlists, but still doesn’t allow customizing the playlist itself. The service, which costs $5 a month, will now be expanded to let listeners skip songs they don’t want to listen to, as well as store hours of music online, the New York Times reported citing people familiar with the matter. The revamped service may be launched as early as this week.
The sources further told the newspaper that Pandora plans to introduce by Christmas a $10 a month full-fledged competitor “to Spotify and Apple Music, with a catalog of tens of millions of songs that a listener can gain access to on demand.”
According to the estimates in IFPI Global Music Report 2016, compiled by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, about 68 million paid subscribers contributed $2 billion to the music industry in 2015, compared with only $634 million from advertising revenue on the back of 900 million free listeners.