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Digital Media

Sirius XM is going to partly own Pandora

The satellite radio company announces a $480 million strategic investment in the streaming music service.

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Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Pandora is getting some backing... from space.

Sirium XM, the satellite radio purveyor best known as the home of Howard Stern, will make a strategic investment in streaming music service Pandora. 

Last year Pandora was reportedly open to a takeover by Sirius XM. The $480 million investment instead amounts to a minority stake, which also involves seats on Pandora's board of directors. 

"Pandora is now poised to advance to the next stage of the company's lifecycle," said Pandora Director Tim Leiweke in a statement.

The move could help Pandora compete in the crowded streaming music space against faster-growing rivals like Spotify and Apple Music. Yesterday Pandora announced an "infinite listening" feature for its $10-a-month Premium service.

For its part, Sirius XM gets a foot in the free streaming door. 

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"This strategic investment in Pandora represents a unique opportunity for SiriusXM to create value for its stockholders by investing in the leader in the ad-supported digital radio business, a space where SiriusXM does not play today," said Jim Meyer, CEO of SiriusXM, in a statement.

Pandora was a vanguard of music streaming with its digital version of radio, but its format locked it into rigid licensing rules that limited listener control. But as newer competitors let you pick the exact song you wanted to hear, Pandora's growth slowed.