Amazon quietly took the wraps off of its new streaming music service earlier this week, and the reception thus far has been mixed. Some see Prime Music as a nice value-add for Amazon Prime users who now have yet another unlimited digital service to enjoy for their annual $99 subscription. Others see it as a half-baked product that doesn’t compete at all with established leaders in the market. Wherever you stand on the matter, the launch of Amazon’s new streaming music service marks a terrific time to revisit all of the top options out there and see how they stack up. More →
If you are a regular Pandora user toying with the idea of subscribing to the streaming music provider’s paid “Pandora One” service, it’s time to pay up. Pandora on Tuesday evening confirmed that it will soon increase the cost of its subscription service to $4.99 per month. The bump from the current $3.99 rate represents a 25% increase, but there’s good news and bad news: the good news is that current monthly subscribers will be locked in at $3.99. The bad news, however, is that those who pay the discounted annual rate of $36 per year will be forced into a monthly $3.99 plan. This rate will be discounted from the upcoming change in Pandora’s monthly subscription plan, but it will represent a 33% price increase from the current annual rate. More →
It hasn’t taken very long for Apple’s iTunes Radio to rise up in popularity. Via MacRumors, a new survey of American consumers conducted by Edison Research and Statista has found that iTunes Radio is now the third-most popular music streaming service and has leapt ahead of Spotify. Overall, the survey found that 8% of people surveyed said that they’d listened to iTunes Radio within the last month, more than the 6% who said that they’d listened to Spotify and the 3% who said they’d listened to Google Play All Access. More →
In a strange, but not entirely unexpected turn of events, Pandora has actually seen significant growth since the launch of iTunes Radio in September. Bloomberg reports that Pandora’s market share of radio listeners has increased from 7.77% to 8.06% in the time that iTunes Radio has been operational. According to Pandora CFO Michael Herring, listening hours on Pandora have increased by 9% as well. That brings total streaming content on Pandora to 1.47 billion hours in the month of October as iTunes Radio users migrate back. Despite this growth, the number of active users actually shrank slightly last month, from 72.7 million to 70.9 million. 9to5Mac points out that Pandora did finally drop the 40-hour monthly listening limit for free users in September, which certainly accounted for some of the growth. Whatever the cause, increased market share for Pandora is not good news for the long-term prospects of iTunes Radio.
When Apple first announced iTunes Radio, many people assumed that the inclusion of a full-fledged streaming service within the most popular music store on the planet would be the death knell for Pandora and other similar services. It turns out that might not be the case, as Apple Insider shares a survey from Canaccord Genuity that found only 8% of users who had tried iTunes Radio stopped using Pandora altogether. Analyst Michael Graham believes that “Pandora’s October monthly listener metrics are unlikely to be materially impacted by iTunes Radio, creating a potential positive near-term catalyst.” More →
Pandora’s share price took a big hit when Apple launched its new iTunes Radio service, but Pandora still has the upper hand. So says Pandora chief financial officer Mike Herring, who recently told CNET during an interview that while Apple might have hype and reach on its side, Pandora is still the superior streaming radio service. Herring acknowledged that Apple and some other streaming music providers are threats to Pandora’s business that should be taken seriously, but he is also confident that Pandora is “better than anybody else” when it comes to streaming radio services such as iTunes Radio. More →
Artists may like griping about subscription-based music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, but they appear to be doing a lot to kill off music piracy. TorrentFreak reports that music piracy in Norway has completely fallen off a cliff, as data from Ipsos shows that Norwegian Internet users pirated just 210 million songs in 2012, down from 1.2 billion in 2008. The survey also shows that roughly 47% of Norwegian Internet users say that they now subscribe to a music streaming service such as Spotify, and that more than half of those subscribers pay for a premium option. Or put another way, it seems as though opening up more avenues for people to pay for music will decrease their willingness to pirate copyrighted material.
Pandora has been on a mission over the past couple of years to lower the royalty rates it pays music labels. The company argues that it should pay the same rates as traditional over-the-air radio stations and not be subjected to higher fees because it operates on the Internet. Despite numerous campaigns, nothing has changed and roughly 50% of the company’s revenue goes to paying licensing fees. In a last-ditch effort, Pandora this week purchased a terrestrial radio station in South Dakota. The move will theoretically give the company the same preferential licensing terms offered to services such as Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio and others. It won’t be that easy for Pandora, however. The company’s purchase is being challenged by BMI, which claims the purchase is a “stunt” that “makes a mockery of the performing rights licenses and the rate court process.” The group filed suit in the U.S. Southern District Federal Court in New York and is asking the court to set “reasonable, market driven” royalty fees for Pandora.
Being the driving force behind change is never easy, but it’s especially difficult when powerful industry players do everything in their power to crush you. Such has been the story of Pandora, which added an interesting twist to its tale this week. Pandora, a pioneer in Internet radio, bought a terrestrial radio station in South Dakota on Tuesday. The move seems curious on the surface, obviously, but Pandora’s assistant general counsel Christopher Harrison penned a piece on The Hill Tuesday to explain the brilliant maneuver. More →
As Pandora struggles to fight off a new wave of competition from the likes of industry giants like Google and Apple, the company recently announced a new feature that could definitely boost interest in its services. Dubbed “Pandora Premieres,” the new feature allows users to stream new albums in their entirety a week before they are released to the public. Upcoming albums can be streamed on-demand from start to finish for one week until they are released, and then they will be mixed in with Pandora’s standard streaming radio offering. Pandora Premieres is available to Pandora subscribers at pandora.com/premieres, and the company’s full press release follows below. More →
A new study published by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has found that illegal downloading doesn’t hurt the music industry. After examining the browsing habits of more than 16,000 Europeans, the research showed that there is actually a positive link between online piracy and visits to legal music stores — so rather than negatively impacting digital revenues, researchers found that music sales can actually benefit from piracy. More →
Apple (AAPL) is rumored to be preparing a Pandora rival dubbed “iRadio” for launch in 2013, but according to CNET’s Greg Sandoval, the company still doesn’t have any major record companies signed up. Sandoval says that Apple’s rumored service is “not being warmly received” by Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group, with his sources telling him “a deal with all the majors is nowhere near to being completed.” In September, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple was in talks with the major record labels on a Pandora (P) competitor and in October, Bloomberg reported that the service was on track for launch within the first three months of 2013. More →
Internet music giant Pandora (P) has been having a tough couple of years. After filing for its initial public offering in June of 2011 the company’s stock quickly rose to $20, however it has since tumbled and now sits near all time lows of less than $8. Pandora has seen a large amount of success on paper and it controls more than 70% of the Internet radio market, but investors continue to fear the possibility of a music streaming competitor from Apple. Even though the site recently posted better-than-expect earnings, the majority of its revenue has gone to high royalty fees to artists. To combat this, Pandora is one of the leading voices fighting for the Internet Radio Fairness Act, which is now before Congress. The bill looks to cut online royalty fees and make them more comparable to those paid by radio and satellite radio providers, however it has several opponents. More →