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Pandora has signed its Warner Music deal, which means it can finally launch its $5 subscription service

That launch Pandora announced this morning? Didn’t actually happen yet.

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.

Sometimes a launch isn’t actually a launch. Until it’s actually a launch.

For instance: This morning, at 8 am ET, Pandora announced that it “launched Pandora Plus,” its new $5-a-month subscription service.

But Pandora didn’t actually launch Pandora Plus, because it couldn’t launch the service legally: It had yet to sign a licensing deal with Warner Music Group.

Now Pandora has signed its Warner deal, so it can go ahead and start letting some of its users try out Pandora Plus — a souped-up, ad-free version of its ad-supported free web radio service.

Pandora Plus’s temporary limbo status wasn’t relevant to normal people, and it went mostly unnoticed in the music business.

Pandora has already said that only 1 percent of its user base would see the new service today anyway, so it was nearly impossible for anyone to figure out if it was live or not.

But Warner Music executives say they were able to take advantage of the fact that Pandora wanted to launch the new service today, and couldn’t do it without their approval.

“We used our additional leverage to win some big sticking points in the negotiations, including better rates for our artists on the ad-supported service,” said a Warner executive.

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