Amazon, Pandora Preparing Improved Music Streaming Plans

The industry is reporting that both Amazon and Pandora are planning to release revised music streaming plans in the coming weeks. The website reports that both businesses are "close to completing months of negotiations for deals with record companies and music publishers," which once concluded will allow the companies to offer the new streaming services. These new music streaming services will offer customers more for their money: Amazon's plan is believed to offer customers a large collection of streaming music from $10 a month, which is half that of the Echo speaker plan, whereas Pandora's service is believed to be an enhancement to the current $5 a month plan including the ability to download more music for offline playback and the ability to skip forward more tracks. Pandora is also believed to be working on a "full-fledged on-demand [music] platform," to be available this year at $10 a month.

These improved services are seen as a means of remaining competitive in a cut-throat industry where there are many different businesses offering similar services including Apple, Google and Spotify as just three examples. Each platform offers a different set of features and benefits, such as the variety of music available, the ability to create and share playlists, the ability to download music for offline playback and the ability to link and watch music videos. Carriers have even been getting in on the act, with T-Mobile US offering unlimited music streaming (that is, any music streamed does not count against that customer's data allowance) for compatible music apps on many of its plans (where they are not offering unlimited data). Although music requires significantly less bandwidth (and network transfer speeds) compared with video, especially HD video streams, for many customers it can still represent a considerable amount of data used per month.

We have seen rumors that Amazon is to release a standalone on-demand music service for customers, related to its Prime service, but the company has remained quiet about such reports. Amazon have significant marketing clout and presence: their inexpensive range of smaller Fire tablets have highlighted that for many customers, content is king over and above hardware specification. A revised music scheme could be just one part of their planned holiday offerings. As for Pandora, a leading market provider of online Internet radio, a move into offering a fully fledged music streaming platform is likely to be seen as a good thing for many existing customers. Neither business was prepared to comment at this time so we will have to wait and see.

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