Rocco Pendola: Pandora will likely continue to beat back every competitive threat including Apple’s iTunes Radio

“If we don’t understand the engine that powers Pandora, we don’t understand Pandora. And we can’t begin to comprehend why the company has beat back and likely will continue to beat back every competitive threat including Apple’s iTunes Radio,” Rocco Pendola writes for TheStreet. “The Music Genome Project sets Pandora apart from every other player, including Apple, not just as personalized radio, but as data-driven music discovery and an artist advocate.”

Pendola writes, “There are times when I’m not sure what to do with a particular song or artist. Pandora serves something up that I don’t want to hear in the moment. But I like the song. I don’t want to thumb it down. And I don’t want to skip it, out of fear the MGP will look negatively upon my decision and not give me the artist or song in question ever again. And, for the same reasons, I don’t want to tell Pandora — on its desktop platform — to give the song a rest for a while.”

MacDailyNews Take: Wait, Rocco, you just wrote that MGP was God’s gift to music listeners, so why is it serving you songs and artists that you “don’t want to hear?”

Pendola writes, “When Apple’s Eddy Cue says ‘It’s the quality of the stations. The question — and what the ability that we have that I felt was unique… that we could have a radio station that played songs that you would really like,’ you really cannot classify him as anything but delusional.”

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, someone’s delusional alright – and it isn’t Eddy.

Pendola writes, “There’s nothing like it in the business. Nothing even close. And it cannot be replicated overnight — or even in a few years — by anybody. Not even Apple. This doesn’t mean Apple will fail. It’s not in the music business. It’s in the hardware business…”

MacDailyNews Take: You’re right, Rocco, Apple isn’t in the music business.

Apple is the music business.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Rocco had balls, he’d state unequivocally that Pandora “will continue to beat back every competitive threat including Apple’s iTunes Radio,” no “likely” about it. That he includes that “likely” is telling. And weak.

We’ll be referencing this article in the future. As servings of crow. No “likely” about it.

We have our own prediction for Pandora’s future:


Related articles:
Pandora founder: Impact of Apple’s iTunes Radio ‘will be modest on Pandora’ – September 24, 2013
At this pace, iTunes Radio beats Pandora in less than a month – September 24, 2013
Pandora drops as much as 12% on Apple’s iTunes Radio competition – September 23, 2013
Apple releases iTunes 11.1 with iTunes Radio – September 18, 2013
Pandora: iTunes Radio roadkill – September 17, 2013
Apple’s iTunes Radio is going to put Pandora into a world of hurt – September 14, 2013
Anticipating customer surprise, Apple begins training support staff on iOS 7 and iTunes Radio – August 29, 2013
Pandora would be wise not to write-off Apple’s potent iTunes Radio – August 26, 2013
Apple’s iTunes Radio to debut in September with McDonald’s, Nissan, P&G, Pepsi sponsorships – August 21, 2013
Apple’s new iTunes Radio is designed to be the largest streaming radio service – July 13, 2013
Apple announces iTunes Radio – launches this fall – June 10, 2013


  1. I’d like Pandora a lot more if it didn’t play the same things over and over. I’m mainly interested in iTunes radio because I’m really tired of pandora.

    1. I agree I like Pandora but the repeats are way to often. Since Apple radio has been out I have been teaching it what I like and don’t like and I have to say I’m impressed so far. The fact that they do this while still not repeating every 15 songs is great. As far as I’m concerned Apple has already won at least on my iOS devices. Pandora will remain on my devices for now but it may get deleted if this Apple radio continues to learn how to get me and my taste in music.

    2. I’m extremely impress with iTunes Radio… I set 1 indie band from the late 80’s and so far it’s only played one band I didn’t like. It’s even finding fairly obscure stuff that I love that I never in a million years would think they would have access to. And so far I’m getting very few commercials. No more Pandora (or Pendola) for me!

  2. Even a beaten donkey will get it right once in a lifetime. Pendola will continue beating the Pandora donkey until it lies dead in a pool of blood alongside the likes of BB RIMjob, Nokia-soft, Palm, Dell and a thousand other casualties of Apple’s innovation. Pendola should wear an armband with a Red Cross on it to resuscitate Pandora when that donkey flatlines.

    1. I used it last night on my AppleTV. I liked what I saw and heard. It also made it easy to buy what I heard from iTunes and even review my listening history. I see this as a bump up in iTunes total quarterly sales numbers.

  3. Ummm…hate to break it to Rocky but Apple has been collecting data for YEARS using its genius feature in iTunes. So they don’t need years to catch up with iTunes Radio.

    1. Also if you have iTunes Match enabled Apple already knows your music preferences. They have a complete list of the songs you bought and like. Pandora has nothing like that.

  4. I walked into my 13 yr old daughters room the other afternoon and noticed she was listening to Pandora instead of iRadio. When I asked her why, she said because iRadio didn’t play enough of the artist she started the channel for. She said when she started a MAROON 5 channel, it played one Maroon 5 song, then started playing a bunch of other artists other than Maroon 5. She said it played a lot of Kelly Clarkson songs, so many in fact she said it sounded more like a Kelly Clarkson channel instead of a Maroon 5 channel. She didn’t want to listen to Kelly Clarkson, or Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson so … she switched to her Maroon 5 Channel she had on Pandora.

    I started thinking about her complaints about iRadio, and started to wonder if the reason iRadio wasn’t playing more Maroon 5 on her channel was that she owns almost all of Maroon 5’s music – which she purchased from iTunes, so iRadio knows it can’t sell her anymore Maroon 5 music, but might be able to sell her some Kelly Clarkson, etc.

    I’m hoping that Apple’s version of the engine that runs iRadio is in it’s infancy, and will learn and develop, to deliver more of what you want to hear. But I fear, that iRadio is really just a sales tool, meant to move more iTunes purchases, rather than being a listening device. And for those of you who will reply with “Well, duh …” type responses – that’s where iRadio will eventually fail. Pandora is not trying to sell anyone individual songs, they may be trying to sell you a premium service to remove ads, but not individual songs. If iRadio continues on just trying to sell individual songs, people will head back to Pandora, to hear music what they want to hear, not music someone hopes you’ll buy.

    1. @iFan: then I’m not the only one who’s discovered this effect. I created a Lana del Rey channel. It always plays her as the first song, then it never plays her again. I don’t even bother with it now. I love the random stations, but the ones I’ve created, not so much. They just don’t play what I want to hear.

    2. That’s an interesting point and I hope that Apple pick up on it. I’ve been using iTunes Radio for the last week and have been generally impressed. I found a radio station that I like which gave me a good diversity of songs. Already bought some music and have a few more on my wish list.
      There still are a few bugs. This weekend, the search feature on iTunes store app on my iPhone couldn’t find anything. I had identified a band and wanted to check out the album instead of just the song I liked. This could be an issue with the store or the app. Either way they are losing sales as a result.
      For me song discovery is the key feature for streaming music and being able to easily buy the songs I like is important. For kids its more about free music since they have less disposable income.
      Consider this: if Pandora’s main income is advertising on streaming music then they have to have a large membership to generate enough income. With iTunes Radio, the main income could end up being song purchases and therefore the cost of the service can be easily offset by a small amount of purchases. This is the biggest difference between Pandora and Apple’s offering and I think Apple has the better option.

      1. You can teach it by telling it what songs you like or dislike.
        Also if you dont want to hear music you have change the slider to Hits to Variety or Discover. You will get a lot of songs you never heard on Variety or Discover.

    3. Not understanding the logic here…

      The point of listening to iRadio is to hear music that you don’t own. I own all of Beck’s albums there’s no reason for me to create a Beck radio station, it seems pointless, unless I’m interested in hearing music that’s in the same genre as Beck. So far, setting radio stations to “Discovery” has been awesome. and I believe is the point of iRadio. Every once in a while it will play songs that I already own, but for the most part it’s been an excellent and intelligent service especially for discovering new bands and music.

      I used to listen to Internet radio stations, but now there’s no point, iRadio has been great.

      1. I did make this comment to my daughter – “if you only want to hear Maroon 5, then why don’t you just shuffle the songs you have on your iPhone?” She said she wants to hear other music too, she just wanted to hear “mostly” Maroon 5.

      2. I don’t own any Beck music. So if I wanted to get a sampling of Beck’s music to figure out what songs I wanted to buy, if I start a Beck channel on iRadio I would get one Beck song, then a bunch of other artists I have no interest in, nor any desire to buy their music.

        It sounds like if I want to research an artist I might be interested in, maybe I should start at Pandora …

  5. I can understand Pandora Media being popular but what about the monetary side of it being successful? How well can they actually monetize that music to be worth Pandora Media’s currently skyrocketing valuation? iTunes Radio is going to easily surpass Pandora’s revenue in months. I honestly don’t understand how investors can have such faith in Pandora and never have any faith in Apple. Apple has some top advertisers already on board. Pandora, not so much.

  6. So far, I’ve noticed that Pandora’s song choices fit my tastes better than iTunes Radio’s when creating stations that target a particular band. But being that iTunes Radio is new, I’m sure that Apple will continue to improve it to my liking.

  7. I am not a big fan of Pandora or any similar service, I just am “album oriented”, if I want something I just buy it. So really I am not a target customer of Pandora, but I will tell you this: after iTunes Radio linked to the iTunes music store, I can’t imaging me ever using Pandora again. One thing for certain, they will never get a penny from me ever.

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