Pandora And Spotify Diversify, Offer New Features


1In what has been a busy month for the music streaming biz, Pandora debuted a new on-demand option, while Spotify began to consider limiting its free tier as it looks ahead towards an initial public offering.

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Guest post by Melina Druga of Midem

March was a busy month in the music streaming world. Pandora is introducing on-demand streaming in an effort to compete with other sites; like Spotify, for example, which has plans of its own. Meanwhile, artist Taylor Swift plans to release music for her followers, Google Play adds more services and one website asks, “What do customers really want?”.

Let’s look at this month’s announcements and analysis by the numbers:

2$343 million: The amount Pandora lost in 2016. In 2015, it lost $170 million. In an attempt to stop the losses, the streaming radio site introduced Pandora Premium, an on-demand streaming service. In recent years, users have been abandoning Pandora for rivals Apple and Spotify, among others. These services offer on-demand streaming while Pandora only offered Internet radio. Pandora plans to offer a simpler interface than rivals. CEO Tim Westergren explains: “We look at the subscription (music) space and think we’re kind of in the first-generation of products right now — it’s essentially 30 million songs and a search box. While that’s appealing for a small segment of the population, I think for most people it’s overwhelming. And no one has really solved the ease-of-use problem. That’s really where Pandora sits here. We’ve created a differentiated product.” The service has 100 million users. Source: Investors

$8.5 billion: The amount Spotify was valued during its most recent round of funding. The streaming site is preparing for its initial public offering. As part of the preparations, Spotify is ironing out deals with record labels Sony, Universal and Warner. These deals will lower the amount Spotify pays in royalties.  In exchange, it will only offer new releases to its 50 million paid members. The deals are expected to be completed by the end of the month. Source: Financial Times

25: The percentage of Spotify users who had streamed Taylor Swift songs before she pulled her music from the service in 2014. At the time, she was one of Spotify’s most popular artists. Swift has filed paperwork to establish a website called Swifties which would feature “non-downloadable multimedia content in the nature of audio recordings.” Swift wouldn’t be the first artist to launch a streaming music site. In 2015, Jay Z launched Tidal. Earlier this year, he sold a third of the company to Sprint.
Source: The Daily Beast

7.5: The latest version of Google Play Music. Users now can adjust sound quality.  Another new options allows users to download music for offline listening. Source:  What Hi-Fi

30: The percentage of revenue in the music industry that came from upper tier paid streaming music subscriptions in the first half of 2016. What do these influential customers really want from a streaming site? The ability to build and customize playlists, yet music industry data reveals that although users love playlists, most playlists are abandoned after only five songs. Users also like the ability to listen offline.  Finally, users want the ability to find music easily. Source: Hypebot

Melina Druga is an author and freelance journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @MelinaDruga.