Last September, satellite broadcaster SiriusXM bought Pandora for $3.5bn in an all-stock deal (completing the acquisition in February this year), looking to merge the two companies’ different areas of expertise and increase their collective footprint.
Sirius at the time asserted that the Pandora brand would remain intact and now it has revealed what their combined operations will be doing.
Pandora NOW is described as an “exclusive listening experience” that will be accessible on both platforms, “leveraging Pandora’s listener data with SiriusXM’s curation and presentation expertise”. It will track the most listened to new music on Pandora and deliver a different iteration for each platform: Pandora NOW will be a curated channel on Sirius XM; and it will also be an interactive station (availing of the skip button and thumbs up/down user reaction) on Pandora for free listeners as well as a rolling playlist for subscribers to Pandora Premium.
Launching yesterday (4th April), it covers a variety of genres including hip-hop, pop, R&B, Latin and dance. The sell from the company is that it combines Pandora listener data with SiriusXM curation – so the classic mixture of human and machine that other streaming services have been pushing for a number of years.
Pandora had been struggling in the market before the SiriusXM acquisition threw it a lifeline. The brand recognition of the Pandora name is clearly something SiriusXM is hoping to leverage in the satellite radio environment – but the fact the output will be morphed depending on the platform could be a seen as an attraction of NOW for some and a cause of confusion for others.