40% of Pandora users listen on Apple devices, service still growing despite iTunes Radio launch

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited March 2014
Internet radio service Pandora is heavily dependent on Apple hardware, with about 40 percent of listeners accessing the service through an Apple device. And yet the launch of Apple's competing iTunes Radio last September has not stopped Pandora from continuing to grow.



Details on Pandora, iTunes Radio and other Internet music services were revealed in a ruling from U.S. District Judge Denise Cote this week, who sided with Pandora in a royalty dispute with the record industry. With Cote's decision, Pandora will be able to keep its royalty rate of 1.85 percent paid to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Music publishers sought to increase Pandora's rate to 3 percent, but Cote ruled that the record industry's demands were not "reasonable." Attempts to compare the rates paid by Pandora vs. iTunes Radio were also deemed unfair by Cote, who noted that Apple utilizes iTunes Radio to promote sales of its own hardware, as well as the sale of songs through the iTunes Store, neither of which Pandora employs as part of its business model.

Cote's decision reveals that Apple negotiated with record labels based on an industry-wide royalty rate of 10 percent, though the actual share paid to ASCAP is redacted from the public documents. Through its agreements, Apple pays a share of iTunes Radio advertising revenue to publishers, but the industry does not take any additional cuts of iTunes Match subscriptions, nor the sale of music tracks sold through the iTunes Store.

The trial revealed that Pandora unsurprisingly views iTunes Radio as a "major competitor," and that the Sept. 2013 launch of Apple's streaming radio service had a measurable but "relatively small" affect on Pandora.

iTunes Radio


"After a short period of time that impact appeared to decline," Cote wrote. "Pandora has continued to grow despite the presence of iTunes Radio.

"This may be due to several reasons, including unique characteristics of Pandora's service, the availability of a Pandora app on Apple devices, and the fact that iTunes Radio is only available on Apple devices."

Still, Apple device users make up a huge portion of Pandora listeners, with the trial revealing that about 40 percent of Pandora's users are accessing the service through Apple hardware. Pandora applications are available for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Data released earlier this month showed that Apple's iTunes Radio is already more popular than on-demand music service Spotify, though Pandora remains far and away the market leader. iTunes Match finished in third place with 8 percent of Internet radio listeners, behind iHeartRadio's 9 percent, and Pandora's 31 percent share.

iTunes Radio launched alongside iOS 7 last September, and quickly reached more than 20 million users by October, having streamed more than a billion songs. iTunes Radio is available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, plus Mac and PC through iTunes.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25

    As I've said before, for mobile devices, Pandora's lower quality stream is preferred when up against carrier data caps. Now with carriers lowering their throttling to 128kbps, (Boost/Virgin) it makes streaming 256kbps iTunes Radio impossible once past 2.5gb. 

  • Reply 2 of 25

    iTunes Radio still kinda sucks in my experience.  Lots of bugs.  Lots of song repetition.  Songs I've chosen to block continue to appear in my playlists.  Explicit content sometimes slips through.  Apple's audio quality is excellent though.

     

    Slacker continues to be my go-to for streaming audio, but I'll continue to try iTunes Radio sporadically to see if Apple has improved.

     

    Pandora's musical selections never quite satisfied me.  I like the human-curated stations of Slacker vs the algorithm-based creation of Pandora and similar services.

  • Reply 3 of 25
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,217member
    Does that means that iRadio sucks? there must be a reason for this
  • Reply 4 of 25
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sestewart View Post

    As I've said before, for mobile devices, Pandora's lower quality stream is preferred when up against carrier data caps. Now with carriers lowering their throttling to 128kbps, (Boost/Virgin) it makes streaming 256kbps iTunes Radio impossible once past 2.5gb. 

     

    Thats a good point. Adding a stream size option could be a good idea.
  • Reply 5 of 25
    dimmokdimmok Posts: 359member
    Whats the story on the low sound volume coming out of iTunes Radio? Seems to me a big difference volume when compared to just playing a track I own. Anyone else notice this?

    That and given the fact I can't convince my wife to dump Pandora for iTunes Radio, She loves the music that Pandora plays. She can't seem to get the same experience using iTunes Radio.



    DM
  • Reply 6 of 25
    seankillseankill Posts: 452member

    I switched to itunes radio with iOS 7 Betas and liked it once it launched. I really loved it. Recently, it has been song, commercial, song, commercial....... It get annoying on 5 hour trips. Currently, switching back to Pandora on the road. Itunes radio still is used when I am at my PC. At the current rate though, I will switch back to Pandora.

     

    Just my experience, I really don't care if it hasn't done song, commercial for you but it has for me for hours straight..... just gets old

  • Reply 7 of 25

    It takes nearly 2 hours for songs to start repeating on my stations. I do find that a set of songs play day after day, even when a station has over 10 artists added and is set to discovery. 

     

    iTunes Radio also seems to pull songs entirely out of the genre to my radio stream as well. I've not seen any difference in the way iTunes Radio is today than when it launched, either. 

  • Reply 8 of 25

    "Recently, it has been song, commercial, song, commercial."





    that's why iTunes Match is a value add-on for 25$ a year :-D



    It really is nice, having all of my music available 24/7, and advertisement-free iTunes Radio. 

  • Reply 9 of 25
    I don't stream often but when I do I use iTunes Radio, my younger brother though doesn't like it, and uses the Beats Radio or whatever it's called. I would stream more but I don't want it to eat up all my data
  • Reply 10 of 25
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,073member

    A lot of Pandora users probably bought a year subscription, and have to wait for it to expire.   Pandora is better if you have a bunch of people sharing an account that have different iTunes libraries, iTunes radio is better (slightly cheaper, better sound quality) otherwise.

  • Reply 11 of 25
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    herbapou wrote: »
    Thats a good point. Adding a stream size option could be a good idea.

    1) This option would be nice, but it does likely mean offering a second, identical library.

    2) If some other service offered 256kbps and Apple only offered 128kbps wouldn't we constantly be hearing about how Apple sucks and only cares about raping their customers? Yet this is the first time I've even seen the bitrates compared. I seem to recall plenty of new signees on here saying that how much Apple's 256kbps AAC sucked compared to the higher nitrate of Amazon's 320kbps MP3s.

    sestewart wrote: »
    "Recently, it has been song, commercial, song, commercial."
    that's why iTunes Match is a value add-on for 25$ a year :-D

    It really is nice, having all of my music available 24/7, and advertisement-free iTunes Radio.

    Especially if you already enjoy the ease and simplicity of iTunes Match before iTunes Radio was added. That said, I seem to have an odd bug since updating to iOS 7 that makes my iPhone skip songs in my iTM library, even if they are recently downloaded until I kill the Music app and reboot it. Note that I do have it set to steam if the song is still in the cloud.

    e1618978 wrote: »
    A lot of Pandora users probably bought a year subscription, and have to wait for it to expire.   Pandora is better if you have a bunch of people sharing an account that have different iTunes libraries, iTunes radio is better (slightly cheaper, better sound quality) otherwise.

    I haven't even tried iTunes Radio on an iDevice but on the Apple TV I think it's absolutely wonderful. I've probably purchased a couple albums worth of music since it arrived which is probably more than I probably bought the year prior.
  • Reply 12 of 25
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,796member

    I tried iTunes radio multiple times but kept returning to Pandora. I just find it an easier to use GUI perhaps just because I am so used to it. But also after years and years of training Pandora and creating various playlists it knows what I like better than I do. 

     

    Streaming radio over LTE is such a great improvement over typical 3G of the past. I managed to use about 8 GB mostly streaming radio while I drove last month. Thank God for unlimited data

  • Reply 13 of 25
    zarenzaren Posts: 49member

    I'm a long-time Pandora user (never paid for it).  I just can't bring myself to give up the playlists I've built up in Pandora to switch to iTunes Radio.

  • Reply 14 of 25
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Glad to hear it! Both have a place on my first home screen. Between Pandora and iTunes Radio I basically never listen to terrestrial radio, even while driving. And Pandora is where I find most of the music I buy on iTunes. I don't pay for Pandora, but I don't begrudge them the ads.
  • Reply 15 of 25
    Judge Cote consistently shows bias against Apple. This is getting so blatant and obvious. It's not her role to determine market factors and protect companies(Pandora), because other companies have different business models (Apple). And who is she to decide what is "fair"? Is it fair for artists to be compensated so little, I would think not.

    About iTunes Radio, unfortunately it's not that good. I really like the interface and how easy it is to purchase songs from iTunes, and I've found some good music, but it has been limited due to the constant repeating of songs, even in the specially made '3 of a Kind' stations. Also, there is not a good selection of sub generas that I've found. I realize that Apple is careful about allocating resources to new products they are not %100 confident in (Ping comes to mind), but music should be a core competency, iTunes Radio should be much, much better.
  • Reply 16 of 25
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 791member

    I have not been happy with iTunes Radio and switched back to Pandora happily. I would find that radio stations I added would just disappear. Then I wasn't able to listen to more then a few songs at a time. The licensing must be quirky. I am a very happy Pandora customer and I have found great new music with their service. I may never go back to iTunes Radio. 

  • Reply 17 of 25
    imt1imt1 Posts: 87member
    I would think Pandora's largest customer base is Sonos. You can't use iTunes Radio with it. Unless you add an airport express to strictly use as an airplay device. I have done that.

    While I saw the comment above about iTunes Radio repetition, I can say the same about Pandora. Not only will you get repetition of the same song on Pandora (live version, studio version, etc), the playlist is exactly the same order, which is highly annoying. Thus, every time you select the station it starts from the same track and its the same tracks in order. In addition, depending on the artist, you can hit the playlist starting over and playing again. With the vast majority of music out there, I can't see why one should EVER run out of music and not find similar songs to play. Unless the song catalog of content is extremely limited.
  • Reply 18 of 25
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,233member

    iTunes radio not being available outside the US may be a reason for some of this.

  • Reply 19 of 25

    This is a marathon and although it seems like iTunes Radio has been out for a long time, it really hasn't.  I'm fairly confident that Apple will continue to improve the service over time.  Tim Cook & Co. do not have to rush, unlike Pandora, who's annual revenues are but a rounding error for Apple.  I use both services and I think Pandora has a better product at the moment.  In 12 months things could be different.  In 24 months things could be very different.  It's hard to bet against the company with $160B in the bank -- especially with Pandora complaining about royalties, etc. now.  Apple has the power to completely change the economics of internet radio if they so choose to.  Patience, grasshopper.

  • Reply 20 of 25
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post

     

    I have not been happy with iTunes Radio and switched back to Pandora happily. I would find that radio stations I added would just disappear. Then I wasn't able to listen to more then a few songs at a time. The licensing must be quirky. I am a very happy Pandora customer and I have found great new music with their service. I may never go back to iTunes Radio. 


    Disapear? I call BS. If you are logged into iTunes, the stations are there unless you deleted them-or they were pre-release listenings. 

    A few songs? Whatever, you can listen all day. If you have iTunes match its commercial free

    ?I am a very happy iTunes radio customer. iTunes sound quality alone compared to pandora is worth $25 a year for commercial free radio. iTunes=The Best on the market. Pandora's sound suffers because of their high compression. 

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