Competitors – SiriusBuzz All Things SiriusXM Satellite Radio Thu, 19 Nov 2015 23:01:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pandora Wins ASCAP Ruling, Celebrates by Raising Subscription Prices Wed, 19 Mar 2014 19:56:27 +0000 → Read More]]> pandora-logo-icon-largeIn a ruling last week Pandora was ordered to pay ASCAP, a performance rights organization, 1.85% of its annual revenue. Pandora had hopes of a rate of 1.7% but, with ASCAP looking for a whopping 3.0%, the final agreed upon rate, which was at the top of their range, is being called a win.

Sony Music CEO Martin Bandier said, "This rate is a clear defeat for songwriters. This rate is woefully inadequate and further emphasizes of the need for reform in the rate court proceedings. Songwriters can't live in a world where streaming services only pay 1.85% of their revenue. This is a loss, and not something we can live with."

The songwriter’s loss is Pandora’s gain. And what did they do to celebrate this win? They decided to raise subscription prices.

The company made an announcement yesterday stating that, in the coming months, changes to the Pandora One subscription plan would be necessary to maintain the premium, ad free, experience. Since the company launched the $3.99 per month rate, SoundExchange rates have increased 53% and will increase another 9% in 2015.

For new subscribers the subscription price will change to $4.99 per month starting in May but, as a way of saying thank you to its earliest adopters (where is my thank you SiriusXM?), subscribers who remain active will continue to pay the old $3.99 rate.

In addition to rate change, Pandora is also dropping the $36 yearly plan but again, those old subscribers will be migrated to a discounted loyalty rate of $3.99 per month.
With 3.3 million subscribers, that is a lot of good grace Pandora is offering to keep those customers happy.

It should be noted that customers “will not experience a price increase at this time,” the article does not mention just how long those loyal customers will be locked in for.

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Pandora Announces Audience Metrics and In-Car Ads – Stock Soars to All-Time High Tue, 07 Jan 2014 04:47:00 +0000 → Read More]]> pandora-logo-icon-largeInternet radio streaming giant Pandora has once again rolled out some impressive monthly numbers that clearly have investors excited.

The story this month is much of the same… up, up, and up. Listener hours for December were up 13% to 1.58 billion, total U.S. radio listening jumped from 7.58% to 8.60%, while active listeners were up 13% to a staggering 76.2 million users.

All Pandora had to show for those lofty numbers was a loss of $1.7 million in their most recent quarter but, news of company offering in-car advertising via in-dash entertainment systems seems to have investors optimistic with the stock finishing the day up another 14% -- after its already incredible 182% run in 2013.

Getting into the car has always been a major focus for Pandora. Now it seems as though they have quietly found their way into the dashboards of 9 out of the top 10 bestselling cars and they will be delivering targeted advertising to the more than 4 million unique users who activated those in-dash options this past year.

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Pandora Drops 40 Hour Limit for Mobile Users and a Few Percent off Their Share Price Thu, 22 Aug 2013 22:57:29 +0000 → Read More]]> pandora-logo-icon-largeJust six short months after Pandora announced their new 40 hour per month cap on free mobile listening, the company has done an about-face and dropped the limit.

The change, which previously affected 4% of Pandora’s users, is said to be made possible thanks to the rapid progress of mobile advertising revenue. According to eMarketer, Pandora is now the third largest generator of mobile ad revenue, behind only Google and Facebook – pretty impressive company.

Pandora’s Founder Tim Westergren says he is “pleased to once again maximize free listening for everyone on Pandora."

Although the company’s non-GAAP total mobile revenue grew 92% year-over-year to $116 million and total listener hours were up 18% to 3.88 billion for the second quarter, Pandora was trading down 11% in the after-hours session due to lower than expected earnings per share forecasts – despite beating this quarters EPS consensus estimates.

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AM/FM? Mazda Say’s Aha! Wed, 26 Jun 2013 20:40:00 +0000 → Read More]]> ahaThe audio entertainment space is indeed getting interesting.  Aha by HARMAN™ today announced that the new 2014 Mazda3, to be launched in North America and Europe this fall, will offer access to Aha's free service with the ability to select presets from more than 40,000 stations.

Bluetooth connectivity with iPhone and Android phones to the car stereo turns on something impressive.  Essentially, software in the Aha app makes the user interface integral to the dashboard.   Aha even offers personalized location-based stations from its library of entertainment stations.  This gives Mazda drivers access to Aha’s location-based stations under a handy "Nearby" button. Mazda’s unique user interface allows control of the Aha stations through features such as a commander controller and a beautiful 7-inch center display. In the Mazda3.    Aha is implemented as a third “band” after AM and FM, making it as safe and intuitive to use as a radio station.

“This offers drivers a new way to connect to the internet and adds a new dimension to the joy of driving. It’s going to make drivers want to get behind the wheel of the new Mazda3 at every opportunity, ” said Ryuichi Umeshita, Deputy General Manager of Mazda’s Product Division. “Safety is always our main focus, and the user interface is both safe and intuitive to use. It’s a perfect match for the wide-range of functions Aha offers. I hope many drivers will give it a try. ”

"Aha helps the connected generation stay entertained and informed. Mazda understands that drivers want safe and simple access their favorite audio content in their cars, and Aha helps them to do this seamlessly," said Robert Acker, Vice-President of Connectivity for Harman and GM of Aha by Harman.

It seems clear that Aha is going after a core demographic that includes younger divers that are more apt to deploy this type of vehicle connectivity.  At the same time, by making the service easy and dashboard driven, Aha will attract an older user as well.  The "Nearby" feature demonstrates the ability that streaming content can offer drivers.  You may not be too familiar with Aha yet, but within the next 12 months you may find yourself sitting in a car and saying, "AHA".

Aha is working with more than 10 automotive manufacturers who, in total, represent more than 50 percent of all cars sold in the USA/Canada. By the end of 2013, Aha will be offered in over 40 models of vehicles including Acura, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Porsche, Scion and Subaru.

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Aha Radio Adds CBS – Opens Platform For Even More Content Mon, 08 Apr 2013 16:43:53 +0000 → Read More]]> ahaAha Radio has announced that it has added some compelling CBS content to its already robust line-up and in addition will open up its platform to ALL services.  The CBS move will include staples such as  The CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, Face the Nation, and The Entertainment Report.  The open platform will make it a breeze for Aha to continue adding content as the company and distribution grow.

While many will need to use their smartphone to access Aha, the company has some major auto players on board including Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Subaru, and six other for 2013 cars, with makers such as Toyota rolling out Aha in the very near future.  Aha is more a distribution platform than a distinct service.  The platform carries Slacker, Deezer, Rdio, and many others.  If content is King, Aha, with over 30,000 choices is definitely in the royal family.

The modern dashboard is more robust than ever and Aha will certainly be a long term player in the space.  Stay tuned, because Aha Radio will be making more waves in 2013 and beyond.

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Pandora Reports Fourth Quarter Results Thu, 07 Mar 2013 22:33:03 +0000 → Read More]]> pandora-logo-icon-largeSteaming music company Pandora released some interesting numbers today and apparently the street is eating it up with the stock moving up as much as 21% in after hours trading.

Pandora announced 4Q13 total revenue of $125.1 million, a 54% year-over-year increase -- advertising revenue of $109.0 million, a 51% year-over-year increase – subscription and other revenue of $16.1 million, a 74% year-over-year increase.

The bulk of the company’s 4Q13 revenue came from mobile which totaled $80.3 million and grew 111% year over year outpacing the mobile time spent listening growth of 70%.

"We continue to monetize mobile at record levels and exceeded our expectations for the quarter," stated Joe Kennedy, Chairman & CEO of Pandora. "We closed the year with a record 8% share of total U.S. radio listening and record mobile monetization that cemented our leadership in mobile advertising.”

Fiscal year 2013, total revenue was $427.1 million, a 56% year-over-year increase.  Advertising revenue was $375.2 million, a 56% year-over-year increase.  Subscription and other revenue was $51.9 million, a 51% year-over-year increase.

While revenue seems to growing at around 55% for Pandora, it should be noted that total listener hours grew 70% to 14.01 billion.  That kind of disproportionate growth can’t be good for the company’s bottom line long-term. The one thing that may help turn the tide is the company’s recently completed move to integrate radio ad buying platforms into its music streaming technology.

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Pandora Power Users Get the Boot Thu, 28 Feb 2013 04:55:04 +0000 → Read More]]> pandora-logo-icon-largeIn an under the radar blog post today, Pandora gently massaged their users with a new 40 hour per month limit on free mobile listening.

The new limit is said to affect less than 4% of their total monthly listeners. As we recently noted, the average listener is only tuning in for an average of 21 hours per month across all platforms so, the vast majority of users will be left unfazed.

Pandora notes ongoing increases in royalty rates as the cause for this new 40 hour rule. The streaming music company has been hit with an increase of 25% over the last 3 years and with an additional 16% coming in the next two years, things aren’t exactly looking any better.

Power users can still use and abuse the desktop platform to their hearts delight but, if they want more than 40 hours of mobile, they will have to pay $0.99 for anything over 40 hours, or subscribe to the $3.99 per month Pandora One plan ($36 per year).

Those of you wondering where the tipping point for royalty rates might be… we just hit it. The question now is, will SoundExchange work with music streaming services, or will they cut off their nose to spite their face?

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Slacker Now on XBOX 360 Wed, 27 Feb 2013 00:57:02 +0000 → Read More]]> The music streaming service Slacker has just taken its sleek new user interface and joined the ranks of iHeartRadio,, and Rhapsody on the popular XBOX 360 gaming console.


Fans of the music streaming service can now listen to their music just about anywhere with apps on Kindle, Roku, Sonos, Sony TV’s/DVD players, and all popular mobile operating systems.

As time has gone on, the XBOX system continues to evolve into a device more about home entertainment and less about just gaming. And based on early reports of the next generation console from Microsoft, I expect this trend to continue.

This move by Slacker comes as no surprise as it only make sense for companies in the streaming entertainment business get their content where people can enjoy it most. And with 76 million XBOX’s sold worldwide, that’s a lot untapped hardware.


The app itself is about 115mb and only takes a minute to download. Once downloaded all you have to do is sync it with an existing account to authorize and you’re off.


What you’ll see next is an interface similar to the one rolled out earlier this month, with all the same controls you’d expect, and some great artist pictures that gracefully transition through in the background while you listen.

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Spotify Coming Soon to a Ford Vehicle Near You Mon, 25 Feb 2013 23:23:47 +0000 → Read More]]> spotify-fordSpotify announced today that they have partnered with Ford Motor Co in a deal that will bring their music streaming service to all Ford models with SYNC AppLink. This will give the current 20 million active Spotify users voice activated access to their over 20 million song catalog.

This deal marks Spotify’s first, in what they hope will be many, collaborations with U.S. based automakers. With Pandora currently in 75 vehicle models from leading manufactures such as General Motors, Ford, BMW, and Chrysler, this Swedish based startup still has a bit of catching up to do.

When you consider the 1 million people already using Pandora’s dashboard integration and then talk about adding Spotify to mix, one thing is clear, terrestrial radio is (even more) doomed.

Spotify will roll out this new service in the one million vehicles in the U.S. already sporting the SYNC AppLink in the coming weeks.

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Google Streaming Music Service Imminent? Sat, 23 Feb 2013 22:24:03 +0000 → Read More]]> google-logoHeavy hitters like Google breaking into the streaming music arena has always been a concern for companies trying to make it in that tough business, and now it seems as though that often discussed hypothetical is about to come true.

The Financial Times is reporting that Google is in talks with major music labels in an effort to launch their own streaming music service.

It is easy to assume that this new venture for Google would include both subscription and “free” access supported by their almost monopolistic online advertising platform like many of the current fan favorites. Not only does Google have deep pockets but they also have something the competition does not, a vast reaching experienced ad sales team, and millions of advertisers plugged into their AdWords service.

As if that were not enough, one could easily imagine Google pre-installing this new music streaming product and integrating it into their ever expanding network of mobile, tablet, and now high end laptop hardware devices – much like Apple does with iTunes on all of its products. Competing with free AND preinstalled won’t be easy.

Will Google soon dominate the music streaming landscape or will they fall short, much like they did when trying to break into social with Google+? With their deep pockets and built in ad sales team, failing won’t be easy but, even if they do, they could spend years putting pressure on the competition, bleeding them dry.

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