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Pandora reportedly seventh top-grossing iOS app of 2018


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Music-streaming service Pandora was the seventh top-grossing iOS app of 2018, despite the fact that it’s only available in North America. That’s according to data from mobile-analytics firm Sensor Tower, published by Business Insider.

It’s not a full picture of the year, given that the data only runs to the end of November, but it’s a useful snapshot of the importance of Apple’s App Store to this streaming company in particular. The data suggests that Pandora generated $225.7m from in-app purchases on Apple devices in the first 11 months of 2018. Just ahead of it in the rankings was YouTube with $244.2m – a figure reflecting at least a portion of the revenues from its two subscription tiers.

What, no Spotify or Apple Music? Nope. This, despite the fact that rival analytics firm App Annie’s retrospective for last year (2017) had Spotify in seventh place for worldwide consumer spend across iOS and Android – Pandora was fourth in those rankings, by the way. Spotify has been high in the lists of top-grossing apps in the past, so the Sensor Tower data *may* indicate that the company’s subscriptions income has shifted a little more towards direct payments, rather than in-app purchases.

That would be significant, because Apple’s 30% cut of App Store subscriptions (which drops to 15% for subscriptions that have been maintained for more than a year) is one element of its platform ownership that companies like Spotify and Deezer have publicly chafed against. Then again, the Sensor Tower figures are estimates, we don’t know the full ins-and-outs of the methodology, so caution is advised before jumping to any conclusions.

Pandora and Spotify have official figures for subscriptions, of course, in their financial results. Spotify generated €3.28bn ($3.72bn) from premium subscriptions globally in the first nine months of 2018, while Pandora’s ‘subscription and other’ revenues bucket was $344.2m.

If you’re wondering what came above Pandora and YouTube in the iOS app rankings (per Sensor Tower): Netflix was the top-grossing app in the first 11 months of 2018 with $790.2m of iOS subscriptions, according to the data. Tencent Video ($490m), Tinder ($462.2m), iQiyi ($420.5m) and Kuaishou ($264.5m) round out the top five: a strong showing indeed for Chinese video/social apps, with Youku ($192.9m) and QQ ($159.7m) also in the top 10.

Stuart Dredge

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