Feature: Convergence In Entertainment

Spotify Apps Infiltrate Pandora's Market Share

Author: Jerry Flattum
Published: January 30, 2012 at 10:17 am

First to market is a myth. Spotify's new apps brings the previously UK/Europe only online radio platform to iOS, and that puts Pandora on alert (no, not the one in Avatar). I personally fell in love with Pandora years ago, but since then Spotify, Last.fm, Sirius XM and other online streamers are vying for my/your attention.

Spotify wasn't available in the US until the summer of 2011. Now, through SpotOn Radio, Spotify subscribers can do the iPhone thing. What's confusing is that on the SpotON website you'll find, "This product is not affiliated with or endorsed by Spotify."  Oh, and while Spotify competes with Pandora, Napster went legal in the UK and declared war on Spotify. In the US, Napster morphed into Rhapsody...are you following this?

Spotify declares 3 million paid subscribers (with more than 10 million registered users).  Pandora has over 100 million. Wow, that's 10 times Spotify. That's not it: The company is worth 3.2 billion but is operating at a loss.  Can you explain that?  Please do.  I'm just a lowly reporter trying to listen to my favorite music.

But in another twist artists like Adele and Coldplay boycotted Spotify, allegedly because of competition with record sales. Personally, I don't get it, and neither does Universal, saying such a boycott could damage an artist's fan base.  Meanwhile, Pandora stomps Atlanta. Why Atlanta, I'm not sure, but Edison Research reports younger listeners doubled in 2011.  Arbitron, which measures traditional AM/FM suspects the comparable total audience comparison to Atlanta's #1 station, V-103, is not accurate.  A key difference is that Pandora is self-reporting while Arbitron is objective.

Pandora blew the lid off of terrestrial radio with its unique model allowing listeners to build a personal station based on a song or artist.  Last.fm picked up the ball and uses "scrobbling" to create personalized radio stations.  I love that word "scrobble."  Not only do we idea what numbers are true but we get to learn an entirely new vocabulary as well.  Welcome to the Cyber Wild West.  In case you'd like to check out Last.fm, you can download their Scrobbler software here...yes, they actually call it Scrobbler software).  

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Article Author: Jerry Flattum

Performer/Songwriter & Writer

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