Pandora Is Losing Subscribers — 88,000 Left the Service Last Quarter

Pandora subscribers

Photo Credit: Pandora

SiriusXM revealed some new information about its subscribers’ growth rate for its satellite service and Pandora.

First, the good news.

SiriusXM added 355,000 satellite radio subscribers during Q4 2019. That breakdown includes 341,000 self-pay customers and 14,000 promotional subs. That number is slightly up compared to a year ago, when Sirius added 346,000 new subscribers. SiriusXM ended 2019 with nearly 35 million subscribers – 30 million as self-pay subscribers.

The bad news is that Pandora seems to be shedding subscribers left and right.

Q4 2019 saw a drop of 88,000 subscribers with only 4,000 new paid promotional subs in the same period. That number is up slightly from last year when Pandora lost 85,000 subscribers. B Riley analyst Zack Silver says he believes there are currently 6.45 million Pandora subscribers.

SiriusXM confirms ad revenue at Pandora is up, despite the loss in subscribers. Pandora raked in $348 million in Q4 2019, up from $314 million in 2018. These are the highest figures seen in Pandora’s advertising revenues yet.

Despite the growth in advertising, the drop in users must be starting to hurt. Spotify now has over 113 million paying subscribers across the globe, while Apple Music continues growing. Even Amazon Music and YouTube Music seem to be growing, while Pandora continues to shed paying subscribers.

Other music streaming services may be eating Pandora’s lunch. Sirius has launched podcasts and exclusive content to try to keep Pandora relevant among its competition. Pandora has even launched its own voice assistant support in a bid to remain relevant in the music streaming industry.

Photo Credit: Statista

Pandora was the most popular streaming service in the U.S. in June of 2019, according to mobile app reach. But that may not be true for long.

Spotify only followed Pandora’s reach by a 3% margin – and that was over six months ago. Spotify has over 100 million subscribers worldwide, an estimated 34% more than Pandora.

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3 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Bill Keating

    Your article is a bit confusing. You say that Pandora advertising revenue climbed despite the loss of subscribers. But paid subscribers do not hear any ads and account for no ad revenue.

    Music Business Worldwide reports that Pandora added 251,000 paid subscribers net. That means after accounting for the subscribers that dropped them. Still, with an estimated 6.2 million subscribers, they are far behind almost everyone. That might not be so bad, since paid subscriptions have low or negative profit margins due to the huge royalties that must be paid to the artists and their record label. Advertising is changing to a model where information about the listener allows advertisers to show ads to people they know are already interested in what they’re selling. Advertising revenue is increasing since advertisers are willing to pay more to have their ads shown to interested people.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Jim Kirk

    Spotify is global while Pandora is only US so it’s silly to compare worldwide numbers. This is clearly a naieve article.

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  3. Avatar
    Bill Keating

    SiriusXM CFO David Frear said during the Q4 conference call:

    “Pandora self-pay subscribers grew by 251,000 net additions in the year to a total of 6.2 million.”

    I think that it’s a good idea to read a conference call transcript.

    Since SiriusXM really bought Pandora for its advertising, which has higher gross margins than the paid subscriptions, they are probably more concerned with the loss of Monthly Active Users and Listener Hours over the last two years.

    Reply

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