It isn’t a secret that Pandora was planning to launch a full-fledged Spotify competitor. The company said as much last year when it bought Rdio, which had filed for bankruptcy. But today, at a lavish event in New York City, Pandora gave a small group of VIPs and reporters a look at the new streaming service. It’s called Pandora Premium, and, as you’d expect, it offers on-demand access to a massive music catalog. And it looks a lot like Rdio, from the brief glance we have seen so far. But Pandora is leveraging the years of information it has about how its users listen to music to provide the all-important recommendations necessary to help people find new songs.
Last October SoundCloud–a free music-streaming service with a massive 175 million monthly users–appeared to be running out of cash. News broke that the Berlin-based company had lost $29.2 million in 2013, and when a rumored $2 billion buyout bid by Twitter fell through, it looked like music’s hottest startup might be in danger of going bust.