Pandora strikes deals with big labels ahead of new service rumors

Pandora struck an agreement with several big labels Tuesday, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music and the Merlin Network.

The new agreement also includes The Orchid and 30 other independent labels and comes as rumors intensify that the service is prepping a rival to Apple Music and Spotify.

The new service is said to cost $5 per month and function more like Apple Music and Spotify, granting users the ability to skip songs and play music offline. Pandora's current free service includes ads but doesn't let users choose songs by title -- only by artist and type -- and lets you skip a few songs each hour but otherwise acts like a more traditional radio service, randomly selecting songs. It's $4.99 Pandora One subscription eliminates ads.

Details on the new agreement were not disclosed, though Pandora hinted that it opens the door for it to "bring new products to market that enable enhanced subscription services, fuel new advertising opportunities and deliver unprecedented flexibility and ease of use to listeners."

Notably absent from the announcement was a mention of the Warner Music Group. Warner represents several notable artists including Madonna, Coldplay, Metallica, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the late Prince.

Pandora stock jumped nearly 5% in premarket trading to $15.00.



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