Pandora, the music streaming service, is now enabling Pandora Premium subscribers to stream music through Amazon Echo devices and third-party speakers with Alexa built in.
According to a report in The Verge, citing Pandora, users can stream songs, full albums and playlists from Pandora's on-demand service to Echo devices. Users can also set Pandora as the default music library on their Alexa-powered device, noted the report. In the past users could only stream music from its online radio service which prevents the ability to play full albums and/or playlists. The Verge noted that as it now stands Apple Music, YouTube Music and Google Play Music are among the few that don't support Alexa.
The deal with Amazon shouldn't come as too much of a surprise given that streaming music services such as Spotify and Pandora are picking up a larger share of the market, and that an increasing number of Americans have smart speakers. According to recent research from AudienceNet, 43 percent of smart speaker owners also use on-demand streaming services, with 37 percent taking on their subscriptions after buying a speaker. AudienceNet noted in a research report issued in October that “43 percent of smart speaker owners also agreed that using their device increased the number of music playlists they listen to, while around 40 percent discovered more music and 38 percent listened to a broader range of music than they did previously.”
In late September SiriusXM announced it is buying Pandora, the streaming music firm, for $3.5 billion in an all-stock transaction. The goal, said SiriusXM at the time, is to build the “largest audio entertainment company.” Through the merger, which is slated to close in the first quarter of 2019, SiriusXM gets Pandora’s 70 million monthly active users. With the deal, SiriusXM is hoping Pandora’s algorithm, coupled with user data, can extend its business beyond music to podcasts, and can help suggest alternatives that may be of interest, too.