April 10, 2013
As Apple iRadio Looms On the Horizon, Pandora Brags About Numbers
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Last Thursday, reports began to surface that Apple may be getting closer to rolling out their streaming radio service, unimaginatively referred to as “iRadio.” This service is largely expected to do no less than destroy Pandora streaming radio. In fact, the day this rumor first surfaced last year, shares of Pandora stock plummeted, a sign that perhaps even investors realize the kind of potential an Apple streaming radio client could have.
Is it any wonder, then, that just four days after tech blogs began talking about Pandora as if they´re already dead the Internet radio company has issued a blog boasting 200 million users?
Launched in 2005, Pandora has grown from a simple website to a service available on nearly every mobile device (including automobiles) as well as televisions and home entertainment units. In their blog, the company provides a handy infographic to explain just how well they´ve been doing over the past eight years.
For instance, the company claims 100 million listeners tuned into the Pandora service in their first six years. This number has doubled to 200 million in just the past two years, an impressive feat no matter how you slice it.
Pandora is also a hard worker, streaming more than 200 million songs every day before 10AM. The infographic mentions this is equivalent to 8,000 songs every second. The company was also able to squeeze 170,510 years´ worth of music into the month of March alone, totaling almost 1.5 billion hours of music.
Users are accustomed to personalizing their stations, giving more than 25 billion Thumbs Up on more than 400 curated genre-focused stations. Pandora also compares themselves to terrestrial FM radio, claiming they played more than 100,000 unique artists and over 1 million unique songs in March.
In case you were wondering, the largest FM radio station only got around to 270 unique artists and 540 unique songs last month.
All told, the average Pandora fan streams about 20 hours of music from the service each month while over 140 million registered Pandora listeners tuned into their favorite stations on their smartphones.
Clearly Pandora has quite the operation going on, and their ability to squeeze their service into nearly every box capable of taking in electricity and hooking up to some speakers has helped them get to this level today.
Yet there are still millions of Pandora users who listen on their iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch devices, and having the option to listen to streaming radio backed by the largest digital music purveyor in the world (and likely baked right into their device) is a no-brainer.
While Pandora was busy streaming billions of hours of music last month, reports emerged that Apple was in a stalemate with industry executives over the cost of licenses needed to stream music to billions of fans. According to the New York Post, Apple only wanted to pay six cents per 100 tracks streamed. Pandora, on the other hand, is currently paying double this amount for the same privilege. Were Apple able to win such terms, the news could have been even worse for 200 million strong Pandora.
Last Thursday, CNET reported that Apple was beginning to wrap up their deals with the record labels, calling the upcoming streaming service a “sweeter” deal for the labels than any agreement penned with Pandora.
According to the CNET report, Apple is determined to have the appropriate contracts signed in order to announce this new service this summer, likely during their annual developers conference, WWDC.