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Pandora is inching closer to its new subscription music services

Sources say it’s aiming for a Thursday launch.

Asa Mathat for Vox Media
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Pandora wants to launch two new music services, and it may be ready to do it this week.

The Web radio service says it has signed deals with two of the world’s three big music labels — Universal Music and Sony — as well as Merlin, a group that represents indie labels. Those deals will allow it to launch a $10-a-month on-demand music service that functions like Spotify and Apple Music, as well as a $5-a-month service that is more limited.

Music industry sources say Pandora would like to launch the new services this Thursday; it has a press conference scheduled for this morning.

The sticking point here is that Pandora has not signed a deal with Warner Music, the other big label. Pandora may be hoping that announcing the other deals gets Warner to come along, or it may be willing to launch the new services without Warner, and hope to add it in later.

Update: On its call, Pandora says it wants to launch the new services “soon” and says it will start changing the way it reports its financials in the fourth quarter of this year to reflect the new revenue streams. But nothing more precise than that, which makes sense.

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