Can 11 Million Listeners On iTunes Radio Topple Pandora?
September 24, 2013

Can 11 Million Listeners On iTunes Radio Topple Pandora?

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Apple yesterday announced they sold over nine million iPhones in the first weekend of availability. Tucked away in the announcement was the claim that more than 11 million unique listeners tuned into iTunes Radio, Apple’s foray into streaming music.

iTunes Radio arrived in both iOS 7 and the newest version (11.1) of iTunes for Mac and PC. Listeners can create streaming stations based on artists, genres and songs or listen to one of iTunes’ suggested stations.

In only five days since its launch, iTunes Radio scored more listeners than Rhapsody had in the whole month of July, according to Cnet, citing a ComScore source. It added that this number could put the streaming service on pace to best Pandora’s numbers as well.

Driving the iTunes Radio numbers are the number of people who have switched to iOS 7. Within five days of availability, 200 million people have switched to the newest mobile operating system. Apple also managed to sell nine million iPhones in just three days.

iTunes Radio is a free, ad-driven service for iOS and iTunes users. Like other Apple services, the streaming radio is deeply integrated into the Music app and the iTunes Store. Listeners can create radio stations based on specific artists or songs pulled from iTunes’ expansive music library. Listeners who enjoy a song have the option to buy it with one button and have it instantly downloaded to their device. Listeners are also given several ways to fine tune their stations.

iTunes Radio can be configured to deliver songs in one of three ways: Hits, Variety and Discovery.

Like Pandora, listeners can expand the pool of music iTunes Radio selects from by adding additional artists or songs. Unlike Pandora, however, iTunes Radio allows listeners to pick artists or songs they never want to hear in the station, a great option for those who are tired of algorithmic listening options continually suggesting one artist. Listeners can also base stations on songs which play on a different station or add songs to their iTunes wish list to be purchased at a different time.

Even when iTunes Radio was just a rumor many compared it to Pandora, the top streaming radio service. Also, when news of iTunes Radio first emerged, Pandora stock plummeted. However, a few months later Pandora returned with news that its music streaming service serves 200 million users every month, followed a short time later by a returning upward trend in stock prices.

Pandora stock has grown by 57 percent since the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2013, reaching its highest ever point on September 18, the day iTunes Radio was released with iOS 7 to the masses.

According to Cnet, Pandora had 64.9 million unique visitors in the month of July, followed by Spotify, iHeartRadio and Slacker. At the pace it is growing, says Cnet, iTunes Radio may beat Pandora with 66 million unique listens by the end of September.