Pandora Aims For Paying Customers With Ad-Free Desktop Player

imagePandora CEO Joe Kennedy told us the streaming music company had more premium options coming down the pike, and now it’s rolling out Pandora One, which gives users ad-free streaming in a customizable desktop app that’s not tethered to a browser.

The $36 annual subscription gives users features like higher-quality sound and unlimited song skips; the desktop app (pictured) eliminates the need for Pandora to be open in a separate window or tab (and hog system resources). The streaming service has always had a subscription option, but it wasn’t heavily promoted; in a blog post, Kennedy hints that the company didn’t hype it because it wasn’t feature-packed enough from the onset.

This sharper focus on paying customers, combined with plans to plug more audio ads into the free version, underscores founder Tim Westergren’s assertion that Pandora’s revenues could double to $40 million this year — and that the service could turn a profit next year.

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