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Pandora’s satellite office in Seattle. The Internet radio giant’s headquarters are in Oakland, Calif. (GeekWire Photo)

Pandora, the Internet radio giant that pioneered music streaming, is launching a premium subscription service to compete with industry titans Spotify and Apple Music.

Pandora Premium, like its competitors, is a $10/month subscription that includes on-demand music, radio stations, and offline listening. But Pandora is betting it can stand out in the crowded world of music streaming with the recommendation engine it’s been fine-tuning since launching in 2000.

“With Premium, we’re leveraging our immense trove of data and everything we’ve learned about personalization to offer a listening experience that sets a new standard for what a music service should be,” Pandora CEO Tim Westergren said in a press release.

That experience includes intelligent playlists that auto-populate based on a subscriber’s song likes and listening history. Pandora Premium also boasts a smart search engine and simple user interface, targeting customers who may be intimidated by other music streaming platforms.

Pandora is initially rolling out the service on an invite-only basis. Pandora Premium will also be available for free for six months to subscribers to its ad-free radio service Pandora Plus.

With about 40 million songs, the service is competitive with Spotify and Apple Music, a Pandora spokesperson told GeekWire. Despite arriving late to the music streaming game, Pandora, as well as other newcomers like Amazon Music Unlimited, don’t believe their competitors’ head start will guarantee long-term dominance.

Pandora has been around for 17 years, nearly double the time since Spotify first arrived on the music streaming scene. If the radio giant can convert some of its listeners into paid subscribers and appeal to new customers that aren’t sold on competitors, it may just become a worthy challenger.

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