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Pandora calls Apple a ‘frenemy’

Pandora Radio

In a recent interview with Fox Business, Pandora CFO Mike Herring referred to Apple as a “frenemy”, a somewhat apt description given that Apple is making a strong push for Pandora’s piece of the streaming music pie. Yet, at the same time, Pandora has always thrived on Apple’s iOS platform.

“We were part of what made it fun to have an iPhone,” Herring explained.

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Indeed, Pandora has long been a mainstay on the App Store’s top list of free apps, not to mention a frequent lurker on the App Store’s list of top 20 highest grossing apps. You might also remember that Pandora founder Tim Westergren, all the way back in 2008, mentioned that the advent of the iPhone doubled the number of users who signed up for Pandora on a daily basis.

So while Pandora has thus far enjoyed immense success on iOS, it’s no secret that Apple is making a strong push in the music streaming realm. About 18 months ago, Apple rolled out iTunes Radio, a cheap Pandora clone that didn’t quite resonate with music listeners. After all, music recommendation is what Pandora does, and it does it extremely well. iTunes Radio, in contrast, came with a wonky music suggestion algorithm and was nothing more than a transparent attempt to funnel users into the iTunes Music Store.

Looking ahead, though, Apple has wisely put Trent Reznor and Jimmy Iovine in charge of Apple’s upcoming Beats Music app. One can therefore only assume that Apple won’t make the same mistake twice and will, in fact, deliver a music app that consumers actually want to use.

In any event, the full piece in Fox Business has a few interesting tidbits about the state of the music industry, including the royalty rate Pandora doles out to artists for each stream — a figure in the $0014 per song range.

All that said, Pandora still has plans to utilize every medium at their disposal in order to get their service out in front of as many consumers as possible. Specifically, Herring confirmed that Pandora will soon be making an appearance in CarPlay. It also stands to reason that an Apple Watch Pandora app is also in the pipeline.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.