Spotify Unseats Pandora as the World's Most Popular Music Service

By Ward-Bailey, Jeff | The Christian Science Monitor, December 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Spotify Unseats Pandora as the World's Most Popular Music Service


Ward-Bailey, Jeff, The Christian Science Monitor


If you're the kind of person who subscribes to a streaming music service rather than purchasing individual albums, you've got a lot of options: Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, YouTube Red, and more popping up all the time.

Pandora is one of the oldest services - it was founded in 2000 under the name "Music Genome Project" - and for many years it's had more active users than any other service. But this week Spotify passed Pandora to become the world's most popular streaming service, according to a report from App Annie, a mobile analytics firm.

In spite of its growth, Spotify isn't yet turning a profit. The company lost about $80 million in 2013, down from a $115 million loss in 2012. Spotify says it's seeking to build an active base of users first, and to convince users using the free ad-supported tier to pay $10 per month for premium subscriptions.

Both services barely edged over 75 million active users in 2015, with Spotify growing considerably faster than Pandora in recent years.

Pandora's service fills a different niche: rather than offering users a way to search for and stream music, Pandora serves up radio stations curated according to users' tastes. On Tuesday, Pandora chief executive officer Brian McAndrews argued in an op-ed published in Business Insider that Internet radio services benefit listeners and artists by allowing people to discover new music, but that on- demand streaming services such as Spotify "are driving down music's intrinsic value by creating a 'gray market' . …

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