Analyst: Apple iTunes Radio hurting Pandora’s ability to attract new listeners

“Pandora Media Inc. declined the most in six months after the largest Internet radio service reported user growth slowed in the third quarter,” Lucas Shaw reports for Bloomberg. “Active listeners for the Oakland, California-based company increased 5.2 percent to 76.5 million, a pace far slower than a year earlier, when Pandora reported a 25 percent rise. Users have been flat since June, when Pandora reported 76.4 million.”

“Pandora’s shares fell 13 percent, the biggest drop since April 25. Listener metrics are a focus for investors because the company is under assault by deep-pocketed rivals from Apple Inc. to Google Inc.,” Shaw reports. “‘Sluggish active user growth suggests that services such as iTunes radio and Spotify are hurting Pandora’s ability to attract new listeners,’ Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, wrote in a research note.”

“Total listener hours increased 25 percent to 4.99 billion from a year earlier, though they fell slightly from the second quarter’s 5.04 billion hours,” Shaw reports. “The results weren’t sufficient given Pandora’s valuation relative to earnings, Scott Kessler, an analyst with S&P Capital IQ Inc., said in an interview.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Despite critics, Apple’s Maps and iTunes Radio flourish – August 21, 2014
ESPN Radio and local NPR stations now available via Apple’s iTunes Radio – June 10, 2014
Apple’s iTunes Store passes 35 billion songs sold milestone, iTunes Radio now has 40 million listeners – May 29, 2014
Apple preps UK iTunes Radio launch – April 15, 2014
NPR brings live streaming news to Apple’s iTunes Radio, more channels on the way – March 24, 2014
Apple’s iTunes Radio already 3rd most popular music streaming service in USA – March 11, 2014
Parts of Apple’s iTunes Radio service flicker on in Australia, UK, and Canada – January 25, 2014
Pandora loses nearly 2 million active listeners following Apple’s iTunes Radio debut – November 5, 2013
Apple’s Eddy Cue ‘very pleased’ with iTunes Radio, looks to go international ASAP; more than 100 countries targeted – October 4, 2013
Pandora founder: Impact of Apple’s iTunes Radio ‘will be modest on Pandora’ – September 24, 2013


  1. I wonder how many of Pandoras accounts are like me. I have an account with them but have not used it in over a year. I’m sure I’m still counted amongst the 76.5 million.

  2. I really wanted to like Apple Radio but I couldn’t make it work. It insists on playing music that isn’t even vaguely in the style I’ve tried to train it towards. How can christmas music keep coming up in my jazz playlist? At least Pandora plays what I ask it to play.

  3. ITunes Radio + Beats Music in the near future 2015 should be very interesting development. iTunes Radio was just the “Beta” version for what Apple has long term plans given the hints of why the Beats acquisition occurred. Patience grasshopper.

    1. I’m not sure I agree. I think apple radio is going to be killed off in favor of whatever product the Beats Music gets turned into. I think it would be confusing to consumers to have both services.

      1. Why would there be confusion, especially if they’re marketed differently or are made to appeal to different demographics? I have no idea what Apple is actually going to do, though I don’t think confusing the two will be an issue.

    1. Although I think Pandora’s valuation is a bit high that has nothing to do with the quality of the service. I enjoy using Pandora because it’s easily tunable to the type of music I want to hear. The seeding algorithms are spot on to me. There are plenty of music playlists that have been set up and I like the idea of it giving suggestions to similar artists. I also enjoy using the Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down interaction. If Apple and Beats Music starts cutting lower price deals for content I honestly don’t see how Pandora can survive (in its present form) no matter how good it is.

      Those greedy institutional investors will disappear in an instant when all that BS about unlimited subscriber growth is found to be quite untrue. Streaming services simply don’t make enough money to stand alone. They need to be part of some larger company that also makes revenue elsewhere.

      Consider how the jacktards keep screaming about iTunes 13% music sales drop and the death of iTunes. Seriously retarded considering Apple is making money hand over fist everywhere else. If loss of iTunes revenue scares investors, then what about poor Pandora?

      I think iTunes Radio is improving but it’s not anywhere near the quality of Pandora. The iTunes catalog should be tremendous, but the stupid thing pretty much plays the same stuff from certain artists all the time and that’s when tuning is even on Discovery. I think Apple merely needs time to get things sorted out.

  4. Please feel free to down vote me because Im about to say something slightly anti Apple.
    But iTunes Radio is really sub par compared to pandora. On iTR I can type in “Mariah Carrey Christmas” and it’ll play me Wiggle by Jason Derulo. Obviously theres work to be done. But for the moment, pandora takes the cake.

  5. Anyone else notice it’s EXACTLY the same as Pandora? Make a new station in iTunes Radio. Call it…… “Hootie”. Now listen to it and fast forward song by song for the first 5-10 songs. Now do the same in Pandora. It’s the same. Something is up. Pandora HAS to have the patents in this area, and Apple HAS to be quietly licensing the feed from them.

    1. I’m afraid I have to disagree. Like the poster above I find iTunes Radio plays the most bizzare things when I create a station. Totally different genra most of the time. It often mixes in Christmas with whatever I asked for. It should NEVER play Christmas unless I type “Christmas.”

      I love the quality of the music. Clearly superior even to the paid version of pandora but if it can’t play what I ask for it isn’t worth much.

      1. Why shouldn’t it play ‘Christmas’ (I assume you mean Christmas music) when you don’t ask for it? Who knows what you’re putting in, or what algorithm they’re using that such a thing happens.

        While I am not a fan of Christmas music–I actually hate it with a passion–you might be asking for Bing Crosby, and last I heard he did quite a few Christmas songs.

        I guess I am saying that you seem to make it appear to be the unlikeliest thing imaginable, and I am reasonably sure that that’s not the case.

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