Triton Digital is the company that measures online digital-audio listening in the US and Latin America, with a metric of ‘average active sessions’ designed to make sense of the online-radio and streaming worlds for advertisers and the traditional radio worlds alike. It’s a very specific metric – we’re not talking about ‘listeners’ – but the sight of Spotify overtaking Pandora is notable nonetheless.
Triton’s rankings for the US in April for the ‘daypart: 6am to 8pm, Monday through Friday’ showed Pandora top with 2.6m average active sessions, and Spotify close behind with 2.58m. Its just-released figures for May have Spotify top with 2.59m average active sessions, ahead of Pandora’s 2.55m. The latter still wins for average time spent listening though: 0.55 hours to Spotify’s 0.44 hours.
As we said, this is just one metric. The competition between Spotify and Pandora in the US has others. At the end of June, 31% of Spotify’s total monthly active users were in North America: that’s around 55.8 million people (but bear in mind this includes Canada, not just the US). Pandora, meanwhile, ended June with 71.4 million active users in the US.
With the latter down from 76 million a year before, and Spotify continuing to grow, the prospect of Spotify overtaking Pandora for US listeners is already foreseeable. Indeed, earlier this month research firm eMarketer predicted that the tipping point will come in 2022, when it expects Pandora to have 75.3 million American listeners, and Spotify 76.7 million.
That’s the bigger prize, with the Triton Digital metrics a waypoint on that journey of the respective services. It’s also worth remembering that Spotify’s subscription business has already helped it to pull ahead of Pandora on another metric in the US: revenues. In the first six months of this year, Pandora’s revenues were $501.5m, while Spotify’s US revenues (as broken out in its last quarterly financial filing) were $889m for the same period.