Another reminder if you needed it that outside games, streaming music is one of the lucrative mobile-app categories. Analytics firm App Annie has published a report tracking the top iOS apps of “all-time” (i.e. since Apple launched its App Store in 2008) and it claims that Pandora Radio is the top iOS app by all-time revenue, with Spotify in fifth place.
Pandora topping this chart is particularly impressive, since the rankings are based on worldwide App Store revenues, yet the overwhelming majority of money made by Pandora on iOS has come from a single country: the US. In fairness, the app is the oldest on App Annie’s top 10, having been released in July 2008 in the earliest days of the App Store.
The report also claims that Pandora was among the top 10 iOS apps in the US ranked by monthly active users (MAUs) in July 2015, with Spotify just outside the top 10 – but inside it in the UK that month. Both companies distribute their iOS apps for free, so their App Store revenues come from in-app purchases of monthly subscriptions: $3.99 for Pandora and $12.99 for Spotify, which adds $3 to cover Apple’s 30% cut of its App Store income.
Neither Spotify nor Pandora are entirely reliant on iOS for their incomes: Spotify has tens of millions of users on Android, as does Pandora – with the latter company making most of its revenues from advertising rather than subscriptions in any case.
The report is another testament to the fact that Apple has created a powerful platform for the businesses of other digital music services, not just its own. But also a reminder of why the likes of Spotify are so worried about potential misuse of that power as Apple Music gets up and running.