Pandora has just announced its audience metrics for November 2013, and they indicate that Apple’s iTunes Radio hasn’t yet knocked the personal radio company off course.
Remember, when Pandora released its October audience metrics, a 2.5% drop in active listeners to 70.9m was seen in some quarters as the start of a slippery, Apple-greased slope for the company.
November? Not so much. Pandora’s active listeners were 72.4m last month, just 0.3m less than its September total. Those people listened to 1.49bn hours of Pandora in November, up from 1.47bn in October, and 1.36bn in September.
We said before that we weren’t going to predict doom for Pandora based on the first month of iTunes Radio in the US, when Apple said it had attracted 20m users listening to more than 1bn songs. Equally, now we’re not going to jump to conclusions about Pandora fending off the competition based on its November metrics.
iTunes Radio IS a serious competitor for Pandora now, and in the long term – as are on-demand streaming music services like Spotify and Deezer that now have personal radio firmly established as a feature. Their impact on Pandora isn’t just about listener totals either: it’ll be about advertising revenues too.
It doesn’t make for a good linkbait headline, but the situation appears to be that Pandora is weathering the early storm of competition from Cupertino, but that it’s still too early to tell how the battle will shake out in 2014 and beyond.