Pandora's Voice-Activated Streams Have Jumped 50% In 2018

Spotify is projected to surpass Pandora’s monthly active users by 2022.  But one area Pandora has the Swedish company beat is voice integration with digital assistants.

Pandora just announced that its Pandora Premium subscription service now features compatibility with Google Home and Google Assistant.  So Pandora’s highest-paying customers can ask for their favorite music without touching a device.

This voice control support also extends to thumbs up and thumbs down functionality, so subscribers can continue to curate their music without the need of a web interface. If you don’t know the name of a song, Pandora can also detect it just from singing a few lyrics at Google Assistant.

Pandora also has a selection of featured playlists that can be activated by saying keywords like happy, chill, rainy day, focus and more.

Pandora’s focus on providing voice-activated controls seem to be paying off for the company.

Just this morning, the company announced voice-activated streams have jumped more than 50% in 2018.  That progress stands in stark contrast to Spotify, who hasn’t focused on a voice-activated experience beyond a beta test announced in March of this year.  That beta appeared to be full of bugs, and Apple hasn’t played nice with third-parties concerning Siri’s API.

Separately, Spotify recently inked a deal to become the default music streaming service for Samsung devices, which may suggest that they’re looking to corner the market outside of Apple’s influence.  Pandora has no such deal with a hardware manufacturer, but the introduction of voice controls for Google Assistant makes it a much better solution for Google Home owners who prefer Pandora’s approach to curation.

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Regardless, the Oakland-based company is still playing catch-up in other important areas.  That includes broadened subscription options family plans, as well as support for more countries outside the United States.