Should Pandora use a subscription based business model?
On my commute into work today I was listening to TWiST Episode 16 with Brandon Kessler, CEO of ChallengePost. During the show, Jason talked about an idea to have fans of an artist pay a subscription fee to receive news and bonus mp3s from the artist. I am a big fan of Pandora.com. Jason's idea inspired me to start thinking about the possibilities for Pandora and a subscription model. On Pandora, a user creates a custom "radio station" that the user seeds with artists and songs and then trains by giving selections a thumbs up or a thumbs down. In addition, users are offered the ability to bookmark a song or even purchase a song.
Pandora also allows users to share their stations with other users. So what if Pandora offered users the ability to subscribe to their stations and for their subscription they received special offers such as early-bird concert ticket purchases and discounts, behind-the-scenes news and exclusives, and special subscriber-only mp3 downloads for the artists in their station. Pandora could take it a step futher. Pandora already allows users to share their stations with other users but they haven't yet built out a full social networking aspect to their site. In the spirit of the concept Brandon Kessler spoke of on the show where he got fans to promote artists, Pandora could offer special incentives to users who share their stations with other users who then become subscribers of those stations. Let the competition and marketing for subscriptions begin!