Pandora Loses Nearly 2 Million Listeners In October…

Does this look ‘resilient’ to you?

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Pandora’s CFO Michael Herring says listening hours have actually improved after iTunes Radio’s launch.  The only problem is that active listeners are eroding, while iTunes Radio’s active users are absolutely surging.

Which might explain why Pandora is contacting nearly every major media outlet and investment group to prove that Apple isn’t having any meaningful impact.  “October data was in line with our expectations and showed the resilience of our business,” Herring assured investors at a Morgan Stanley investor conference.

All of which begs the important question: if iTunes Radio isn’t a threat, why is Pandora spending so much time telling us that iTunes Radio isn’t a threat?

Here, you decide if this looks ‘resilient’ or not.


Pandora Numbers, October 2013.

(source: Pandora)

Active Listeners: 70.7 mm (down 1.8 million, 2.5%)

Total Listening Hours: 1.47 billion (up 9%)

Total Share of US Radio Listening: 8.06% (up from 7.77% in September).

Total Time on Market: 9+ Years.

Countries: US, Australia, New Zealand; no further expansion on roadmap.

Licensing Status: Insecure (hostile rights owners, massive Congressional and federal court campaigns to lower federally-determined rates).


Latest iTunes Radio Numbers

(source: Apple)

Total Time on Market: 5+ weeks

Active Listeners: 20 million (already 28.3% of Pandora’s total)

Total Share of US Radio Listening: No data available.

Countries: US, expanding into UK, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, surrounding European countries by 2014; 100+ countries over the next several years.

Licensing Status: Secure (directly-negotiated deals with top content owners on recording and publishing sides).


19 Responses

    • Faza (TCM)

      Some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations, based on data from Pandora’s Form 8-K dated 24th October 2013, say around 3 million. Anyone got better data?

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Pandora has every interest in spinning this narrative towards iTunes Radio not having a material impact on their business. Which is why the CEO pointed to overall usage hours, which is the best metric (if we are to believe Pandora’s unverified numbers).

      Maybe Pandora’s right, but who knows: I’ve put a lot of the relevant data above, including the number of active users.

      So you decide.

  1. Brad Hill

    Apple has never released an “active listeners” metric, only unique listeners. The two measurements are different, and importantly so.

    Herring spoke at the Morgan Stanley conference yesterday afternoon, not this morning.

  2. FarePlay

    The data I really want? How many paid downloads have come from iRadio to iTunes?

    • Revbill

      I can only give my experience but I have personally purchased four albums directly out of iTunes Radio since starting to use it in late Sept.

  3. Yves Villeneuve

    Pandora’s 70.7mm represents users worldwide who are bypassing blocks. If Pandora tries to expand worldwide it may not have a major effect since many foreigners with a very large interest in using the service are already using it.

    Based on Pandora’s report(true or not), iTunes Radio has a minimum 1.8 million active users. There are roughly 70mm daily active iTunes accounts. 21mm are active American iTunes accounts. NPD research says 42% of these are Pandora users, so let’s say 8.8mm. If this is true, iTunes Radio has captured a minimum 20% of American Pandora users who are also active iTunes users.

    28mm or 40% of Pandora’s users are active iTunes users, which may be the most iTunes Radio can capture from Pandora worldwide. Maximum active American iTunes accounts that may adopt iTunes Radio is roughly 10.5mm or 48% of 21mm(see above), according to NPD Research.

  4. Wine Runner

    DMN should change its name to Digital Music Editorials. Paul is not a journalist that presents objective information. At least half the time, the articles are editorials giving us Paul’s spin. This is fine, but it’s not “news”.

  5. R.P.

    stop with your bullshit Apple funded propaganda. NO ONE is listening to iTunes radio. How many DMN readers have even tried it? NEXT.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      I think more DMN readers have used it than you think, especially all of the our readers at Apple. Just throwing that in there — but you were saying?

  6. Myth Busters

    Pandora streamed about 22 billion songs in October and will pay royalties of about $26.5 million to artists and labels for royalties for the privilege. That’s more royalties paid to artists/labels for streaming than all radio stations in the U.S. combined, and much more than Apple, YouTube, and Spotify.

    Pandora streams more media in the U.S. than ANY other company. Pandora is bigger than YouTube in total hours streamed. Pandora is number one on mobile too. Those are facts.

    Pandora saw its total hours streamed increase by 110 million hours in October. To put that in perspective, the amount of Pandora’s monthly increase is equal to about 100% of all of iHeartRadio’s (Clear Channel) listening in a month. Contrary to the assertion in the article, those are NOT “self-reported” numbers. Apple’s is a “self-reported” number, but it does not need to be. Apple can use Triton’s Webmetrics to measure their listening so that the whole industry can measure their audience apples to apples.

    Those are facts.

    • Wrong!

      “Pandora is bigger than YouTube in total hours streamed. ”

      VERY wrong!

      • Myth Busters

        According to comScore, in the month of September (latest month with data available), ALL of Google’s properties, including YouTube, streamed 1,273,749,400 hours of content. In the same time period, Pandora streamed 1,360,000,000 hours of content. Those are facts. Go ahead and Google them.

        Your statement is a myth, that is now busted.

    • Yves Villeneuve

      Myth: Pandora has 70mm American users.

      Truth: Pandora has 70mm worldwide users.

  7. blahblahblah

    I generally like DMN but can you ease up on the Pandora thing just a little bit? I’ve never been a Pandora fan but it is a BIT excessive.

  8. John Simson

    How can you say that Pandora’s licensing is insecure when they have a statutory license to stream any recording ever released and PRO deals that extend through 2015. Yes, songwriters are unhappy and would like to receive a larger percentage of revenue (as they should) but this is hardly an insecure situation.

  9. Industry Insight: New Label, M-Phazes Signs Global Deal & More

    […] Streaming service Pandora was the biggest internet radio service, but the successful US launch of Apple’s new iTunes Radio service has taken a noticeable chunk out of Pandora’s sizeable audience. For the month of October, Pandora reported a drop of 1.8 million active users, with iTunes Radio earning 20 million users in its opening weeks. Interestingly, while Pandora lost 2 million users, its total share of US radio listening increased slightly, rising to 8.06% from 7.77% in September. Pandora CEO Michael Herring has been downplaying the sharp listenership drop around the iTunes Radio launch. “October data was in line with our expectations and showed the resilience of our business,” Herring told investors at a Morgan Stanley conference this week. (via Digital Music News) […]