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Businesses Music

Pandora Loses 7 Million Listeners ( 115

An anonymous reader quotes the Bay Area Newsgroup: So many listeners have turned off Pandora that Friday could have been called the day the music died for the internet radio streaming pioneer. Late Thursday, Pandora said it ended its third quarter with 73.7 million active listeners, a decline of more than 7 million listeners from the 81 million it had in the same quarter a year ago. Declining listener numbers, along with weaker-than-expected advertising revenue and a disappointing fourth-quarter forecast, had investors tuning Pandora out on Friday, as the company's shares fell by almost 25 percent, to close at $5.59.

Pandora still has more listeners than Apple Music, which has 27 million paying subscribers. But the Oakland-based music streaming business trails its other major rival, Spotify, which has 140 million active listeners, including 60 million who pay a monthly fee for on-demand streaming and to avoid listening to commercials with their music.

For comparision, Pandora now has just 5.19 million paying subscribers for its two ad-free streaming music services.
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Pandora Loses 7 Million Listeners

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 05, 2017 @12:09PM (#55493645)

    The ads and the nag screens got to be too much. I barely use it anymore.

    • They're caught between a rock and a hard place and also several other solid mountains of mineral deposits. The ads you and the vast majority of their users hear and hate are too annoying. And they're also evidently not bringing in enough dollars, so they seem to need to make them MORE annoying.

      Plus, competitors. No one wants to pay for ad-free when spotify, apple, google, and flying the black flag do it better. Amazon probably doesn't do it better, but at least prime members get that ad free.
      • They're caught between a rock and a hard place and also several other solid mountains of mineral deposits. The ads you and the vast majority of their users hear and hate are too annoying. And they're also evidently not bringing in enough dollars, so they seem to need to make them MORE annoying.

        They stream low-quality to high-end systems. You can pay the subscription fee, you still get crap on a high-end receiver or prepro.

        They want my money, they have to fix that. And since they were told about it years ago

        • by gnick ( 1211984 )

          ...since they were told about it years ago and haven't lifted a finger to fix the quality of the music... to heck with 'em.

          There's now a "Higher quality audio" option that warns, "Music will sound better, but may skip more often." I don't know if the higher quality would meet your needs, but I assume it's comparable with the other services. I don't know why it wouldn't be.

          • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

            That option - last I looked - only worked on the non-receiver / prepro integrated clients.

        • Did not know that. And they likely can't fix that without money they don't have.

          Well then they need to acknowledge their goose got cooked years ago.
      • by Amouth ( 879122 )

        i have had Pandora for years, i got tired of listening to the same song over and over regardless of what station i was on. also the random adding of "artist" adds for paid subscribers, where you have to turn it off per channel.... it just got to be a bit much. mix that with already having Amazon prime, and it's "free" version, which i honestly like better because the stations keep true and don't bleed over..

        I'm counted in one of their 5m paid subscribers, but i canceled my membership, and don't plan on

        • by gnick ( 1211984 )

          ...the random adding of "artist" adds for paid subscribers, where you have to turn it off per channel.... it just got to be a bit much.

          I agree that the artist inserts are annoying, but they can now be turned off once universally rather than "per channel."

      • by Cramer ( 69040 )

        The audio ads aren't that bad. Yes, they play them far too often, but it's less than broadcast radio. A 30s spot every 30min is perfectly acceptable. When they start spamming me with 2min ads (!!!!), and ads every 10-15min, it's time to delete the BS.

        For me, the last straw is the completely unusable UI because the asshats have to spam you with ad after ad after ad if you so much as look at the UI. You cannot interact with the damn thing without it filling the screen with bloody ads. And to make matters wors

    • i havent really gotten many ads lately. not sure if its what i chose to listen to (george carlin based station) or what, but i get 1 ad maybe every 2 dozen tracks these days
    • by TheGavster ( 774657 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @01:17PM (#55494031) Homepage

      What gets me with the ads is the same thing as with terrestrial radio: why do they play several ads in a row? If I knew I was getting back to the music or whataver program after 30 seconds, I'd listen through, but when it's going to be a few minutes I change the channel or turn it off. I understand bigger breaks in TV, where the content doesn't break up easily, but music is already in 3-5 minute chunks.

      • I agree with the multi ads. Pisses me off with Spotify & now YouTube. If it were a 10-30 second ad fine, but when it runs multiple, I get tired of waiting and turn it off
      • The reason for ads on Pandora isn't so much for them to make money from ads. It's to annoy free users into subscribing. This is why the ads are as grating and repetitive as possible.

    • I have to agree with you on this one. Also, it checks to see "if I'm still here" every hour. PITA when I'm eating dinner or entertaining.

      I do like the ability to select "artist channels" and play their songs at random. Something I can't seem to do easily with Spotify.

      I was actually going to pay for the service but they won't just allow me to pay for a year. I must give them my credit card number so they can continually bill me.

      No thanks. You missed your chance.

      I'm sticking with TuneInRadio and listenin

  • by Shogun37 ( 1835726 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @12:14PM (#55493671)
    I used Pandora, for a while. I quit, for the same reasons I stopped listening to the radio. Too many ads, not enough of the music I like. Between a large(ish) music collection, two flea markets, and a half dozen second-hand music stores, nothing of value was lost.
    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      - Too many devices that can't play the music.
      - Too many places you can't play the music.
      - No support for premium quality.
      - No support for turning off loudness compression.
      - No support for gapless playback (which is a big deal for some genres).
      - A search system that doesn't have exclusions, making searches worthless because you drown in what you don't want. (This is not just a problem with Pandora, but quite a few product search engines. That isn't a mitigating factor, though.)
      - Ads becoming more intrusive

    • by unrtst ( 777550 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @02:45PM (#55494431)

      What world did all of you come from? How is having over 73 million active listeners considered "the day the music died for (Pandora)"?!??!!?

      At this moment, every comment is critical of pandora in some way. WTF? How are people leaping to that conclusion from these numbers:

      Spotify: 140 million active listeners (60 million paying)
      Pandora: 73.7 million active listeners (5.19 million paying)
      Apple: 27 million users (all paying)

      Sure, Pandora took a loss of 7 million users over the past year, but if they had not lost those, they'd simply be at 80.7 million active listeners. Maybe they're not first place, but they're the only one of those three that offer a service like theirs, and they have MILLIONS of users, and MILLIONS of paying users.

      These comparisons on that level are just stupid. They say nothing about whether the company can be successful or not. FWIW, I'm not arguing that they are, or have been, successful/profitable/etc, but these numbers don't spell the end in any language. They're top of their class, and in the top 3 for internet streaming music. That should still be impressive, not a death knell.

      I feel like things weren't always this way, and this is an internet age thing, where people feel only one or two companies/products can be even considered, and everything else is garbage (or, on the low end, everything is garbage and just buy the cheapest shitty stuff you can get your hands on). It's depressing that 3rd place no longer counts for anything.

      • by vlad30 ( 44644 )
        In tech, companies can go small and disappear very fast even when they are very large ask Wordperfect, Myspace, and I'm starting to forget the others they either lose their way think that the user base will stick with them when its too easy to move away to a cheaper or better competitor. walled gardens aren't a deterrent either all I need from my phone is my contact list which is backed up. The rest are usually either fad apps that includes pandora or easily replaceable apps available on other platforms. ev
      • You answered your own question. Spotify has twice the listeners and 14 times the paid listeners.

        Also, you can pick what you listen to on Spotify, while Pandora still has that bullshit "Due to streaming rights we cannot skip this song or replay it". Their algorithm is cool, but it's not enough when you ignore and annoy your users, even when they pay.
        • by unrtst ( 777550 )

          You answered your own question. Spotify has twice the listeners and 14 times the paid listeners.

          There are way more Hershey's bars sold per day than pop rocks, but that doesn't mean pop rocks are dead. You can use any products/companies here. One company/service having a larger share of users does not mean that all others in the market are dead ("the day the music died for (Pandora)").

          Also, you can pick what you listen to on Spotify, while Pandora still has that bullshit "Due to streaming rights we cannot skip this song or replay it".

          Uhhh, d'uh. They're different products. That's actually why Pandora has a chance of still making it regardless of how well others are doing.

          Apple Music and Spotify are far more similar than Pandora and Spotify. Apple Mus

    • The timing is enjoyable. I stopped listening to Pandora this past week. I don't mind the ads, but when you play the same effing ad over and over I had no choice but to go to Spotify. Spotify, although not as good at "stations" IMHO, has far out innovated Pandora's one trick pony. Pandora if you care, it's the Innovations for Poverty action advertisement that would advertise every 5-10 minutes. Second only to KARS4KIDS. I hope you too have that effing song in you head. You have immense troves of data, try g
    • I used Pandora, for a while. I quit, for the same reasons I stopped listening to the radio. Too many ads, not enough of the music I like. Between a large(ish) music collection, two flea markets, and a half dozen second-hand music stores, nothing of value was lost.

      In my case, not only were there a lot of ads but for some reason Pandora thinks I live hundreds of miles from where I actually live and give me ads for services and companies there. In addition, for some reason if you like Jimmy Buffet and the Dead you must be a country music fan and feeds me a bunch of country music I do not like.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Music streaming is as profitable as it is convenient compared to piracy. Being able to listen to any song, any time and without ads helps to it. Once you start making your service shittier to the point piracy becomes enticing once more, you lose paying customers. Simple as that.

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @12:36PM (#55493783)

    I've been finding and streaming stations since the early 2000s. Any genre you could possibly want. Streams on almost any device. Streamripper still works great.

  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @12:41PM (#55493821)
    I thought Pandora was really spectacular at making playlists. I would set some qualities and it would make some surprising picks; a country music artist that did a cover of a song I like even though I don't like country music, that sort of thing. But yeah their library didn't seem to be extensive enough and it always seemed like the playlist algorithm could be awesome if it just kept doing new obscure picks instead of same repeats.
    • I left Pandora *BECAUSE* their playlist algorithm was just terrible. I can't have an all-in-one favorite music station because its focus is too narrow. An example, if you create a station, say, with Skrillex and Stone Temple Pilots as the seeds, you will have two different drivers for the station and it doesn't freely move between the two. It may start off with Skrillex/Dubstep music and it will stay on that path until you skip 5 or 6 songs, when it jumps over to playing SilverChair/SoundGarden/Alice in Cha
      • We're talking about the same thing. A result of having not enough music selection to bridge the gap between the two types.
      • by imidan ( 559239 )
        I never succeeded at training a Pandora station. Mine all inexorably turned into all Beatles all the time. The first time I did one, it turned into a Beatles station within a day. I'm not a big Beatles fan, but I don't mind an occasional track, so I hadn't been downvoting them. For my next try, I mercilessly downvoted Beatles songs whenever they came on. That station turned into solo projects from member of the Beatles, covers of Beatles songs by other artists, Beatles covering the music of other artists, a
  • Here in Denmark there are mobile providers that give you Premium Spotify with your mobile subscription. Supposing the same thing happens in other countries as well, this should count for a good portion of the Spotify subscribers.
  • When Pandora Plus was launched, the player stopped working on my primary device. My own library is large enough that I just don't care enough to figure out how to get it working again, so I dropped it entirely. It had previously introduced me to a few artists and songs I had never heard before, which is cool, but I have little patience for updates that break stuff.
  • by LS1 Brains ( 1054672 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @01:25PM (#55494063)
    So I paid for Pandora for years, and stopped. The final straw for me was when they decided to play in politics and "take a stand" with the "Black Lives Matter" thing. I was already unhappy with the lack of a music catalog, I couldn't listen for longer than an hour or so before songs would start to repeat. They just got passed up by everyone else, and I've been a happy Spotify subscriber ever since I left Pandora.
    • So I paid for Pandora for years, and stopped. The final straw for me was when they decided to play in politics and "take a stand" with the "Black Lives Matter" thing..

      I'm of two minds about this...on one hand I think that overall, it's probably a good thing that companies do what they can to raise awareness of various issues, social or otherwise. It can make a difference.

      On the other hand, I have to admit I don't like them doing that even when I agree with the cause or issue.

      I would prefer that companies I patronize be more-or-less neutral, I don't want every damn thing to be seen as "taking sides" or voicing an opinion, mine or anyone else's.

      And yet at the same time...I

  • They jacked up the price and still have the nerve play loads of commercials that interrupt the music.

    I mean, what's not to like about that?

  • I was a paid Pandora user for years. When they changed up their software they removed functionality which had worked well related to adding songs to a station to enhance the selection into multiple genres. Their player started crashing on my phone and their customer support was non-existent. They had no place for me to tell them what was my challenge (I've forgotten all the details by now) and so my only recourse was to cancel my subscription and switch to a different provider. Still don't like Google
  • I've been a Pandora One subscriber for years. (guess that's "Plus" now) Basically just paying for no ads and a longer timeout before the player asks if I'm still listening. I love the whole discovery concept. Can't live without it. Don't really need to steam whole albums of specific playlists, I have subsonic for that. Has anyone improved on the discovery aspect? What am I missing by staying with Pandora One?
  • When they jumped on board the SJW crap and came out in support of Black Lives Matter, that's when I canceled my subscription and closed my account.

    I just want music on my music program. Keep your politics to yourself. When you decide to alienate half of the country, don't be surprised when they decide to part ways with your product.

    Moved over to Spotify. No idea how they lean politically, because they just play music.

  • "Losing one is unfortunate. Losing seven million looks like carelessness."
    Stephen Fry. Or maybe it was Bernie Madoff?

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @05:17PM (#55495141) Journal

    There are other options out there free - I'm not sure if they play more, fewer, or comparable ads - and the paid service just keeps getting more and more expensive.

    IIRC (it was a while ago) when we started paying for it, it was something like $20/year. Now it's what, either $6/mo or $10/mo?

    That's nuts when there are tons of equally-tolerable options.

    (Note: I'm not saying Pandora are evil greedy sonsabitches. I felt that they're terrifically screwed by their royalty contracts because they tried to do the right thing and compensate artists, but they're paying MULTIPLES of what radio stations have to pay, per song. I really like the company and think they're victims here, a little.)

  • I listen to Pandora on my PC at work, when I can. They switched to a cruddy flash interface a few months ago, which I suspect is part of why their numbers are down. The new interface locks up, doesn't pause correctly, and just sucks in general. The only reason I haven't switched is the effort I put into creating my stations, but that day is coming soon.

  • I just decided to use what I'm already paying for instead of listening to advertisements. I'm using Amazon Music since I'm already a Prime member. No need to debate it with myself, it's just a simple choice.

  • On July 14, 2017, Pandora emailed Australasian users to notify them that the New Zealand and Australian access to Pandora would cease on July 31, 2017.

    Now Pandora is back to being an isolationist US only service, while Spotify and Apple Music have expanded their service globally. How can a company expect to survive with a strategy like this?

  • Pandora pretended to be music for me and all that pretend pandering, but when all was said and done it was boomers pretty much telling me how I should listen to their music.

    Spotify is much closer to actually pandering to my tastes. The one thing that it does not seem to want to do is allow me to block certain artists. Who the hell wants to listen to Bieber? I certainly don't, yet the damn thing keeps putting him in my "discover" list. I want to block his tattooed ass right now. This is where Spotify also
  • Pandora isn’t available where you are yet.

    Pandora is only available in the U.S. right now – but we are working on bringing our music service to other parts of the world.

  • a couple years, more than a few years ago, until they billed me without my consent. I dropped their shit that day and never looked back and sent them shitty email where I got a form letter effectively telling me to fuck off.

    The variety of their music when you listen to something eclectic isn't great (I found out once you could open an xml in there somewhere and it would show you the next several songs that it was going to play for a given channel which made it even more predictable).

    My wife, however, still

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I love Pandora and prefer it to Spotify. I was a paying customer for years, even when it offered 40 hrs ad free. I loved the service so much that I paid for it anyway. I was paying about $4/mo. My wife and son were both able enjoy it as part of that. But, they switched and no longer allowed more than one user. So, that tripled my price. For the same money, I was able to get Spotify, which allowed you to play any song. Then, Pandora came out with that option and it was $10 or $12 per month, with no family

  • like an artist and they show up no matter where you are. feel like listening to genre X?, well that artist in genre A you once liked is going to come up every third track regardless of how out of place it is.

  • When I listen to Internet radio I have found that the radio that are better tasting to me are the ones that have a real radio transmitter and are either simulcasting what is pumpend in the antenna and their "speciality" channels. The advertising level it's bearable, because they know that too much ads and too less music or spoken words makes people to tune out and I also suppose that overe the air ads are paid more. I am in Europe, so we have a lot of public radios, and if you like classical music you have
    • BBC Radio 3 is amazing in this regard. Not only the music but also a huge quantity of interesting educational material up on line.
  • I use Spotify for classical, but I'm also looking into Idagio []. Idagio has a much nicer interface for classical music, since you can search by composer, conductor, etc. It links multiple movements together into a single piece, etc. However, it lacks a lot of the large labels and there is no free version.
  • by uneek ( 107167 )

    I am a paying subscriber. I have noticed a downgrade of quality and some more annoying items. For example on one channel , an artist interrupted the music playing to discuss upcoming concert dates. That is not something I could opt out of. Other times on some channels the algorithms play songs that are way out of the preferences I have been setting up with my upvotes. It feels almost like the artist paid to be inserted into my music stream.

  • apt install pithos

    no commercials, unlimited skips, you're welcome...
  • My paid Pandora subscription ended last month, and in the one day between expiration and getting around to renew the subscription, the ads and awful nagging got so bad I simply won't renew it. They have advertised their way out of having me as a customer.

    It was the worst listening experience I can imagine. One or more commercials between every single song, sometimes a minute or more in length. Video ads loading and playing flashing battle scenes and shit while my phone was on my dashboard, in my car, dri
  • I left Pandora because they insist on using Adobe Flash. I have eliminated Flash from all my systems due to the constant security issues with it. Pandora is obsolete and does not play on any of my systems. I have moved on to other platforms that don't jepardize my systems.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.