Pandora has long enjoyed the position of being one of the most successful internet-based radio services. However, with the recent launch of Apple’s iTunes Radio which arrives as part of Apple’s new iOS 7, also with newly released iTunes Software for Mac & Windows, a new contender is in the arena.
When Apple unveiled iTunes Radio three month ago, I wrote that the company has everything it needs to make this service a success. One of the key reasons behind this prediction was simply that Apple had integrated the service directly into its mobile operating system.
Not only that, the company has a ready audience of iOS users who already number in hundreds of million. With such an audience, even if a fraction signs up for the service, iTunes Radio is all set to be a roaring success.
iOS 7 has been rolled out only a few days ago. And within no time, some 11 million unique listeners have thronged to the service. Although Pandora has some 72 million active users, the company took quite some time to touch that milestone. In the case of Apple, we can expect that to happen a lot sooner.
The big question is, what will become of the likes of Pandora when Apple becomes the leading player in the online radio arena. However, this question can be answered better if Pandora provides a breakdown of exactly how many iOS users access its radio service. Since Android users outnumber iOS users by a huge margin, Pandora can still continue to grow without losing much if a majority of its users have Android devices.
As a result of Apple’s released numbers about iTunes Radio, the shares of Pandora have fell by some 10%. Naturally, the perception that iTunes Radio is becoming a success will surely impact the prospects for Pandora. At the same time, Apple’s entry will force all major online radio services to offer better features, newer content and at affordable prices.