Pandora Surpasses Sirius XM

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 15, 2009

For a while there, Sirius XM’s iPhone application left alternative radio services in the dust on the iTunes charts. Well, no more. Music discovery app from Pandora has just surpassed it.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Pandora is gaining additional fans. With the long-running Web radio royalties dispute put to rest, the company can finally focus on growth. There’s talk that Pandora could soon close a new round of funding, which could help the company further rev up its customer base — which, at 18 million, already equals Sirius’s.

In the coming months, Pandora’s customer base should outstrip Sirius’s. After all, unlike Sirius’s service, Pandora is free for all but the heaviest users.

That influx of consumers should make it easier for Pandora to find its financial footing. While Pandora is yet to figure out how to make money off of that huge customer base, on the plus side, the company doesn’t have Sirius’s huge satellite network and programming costs. As Pandora’s customer base grows, the company could try charging a small fee to all users, in addition to making money off of advertising.

Reader Comments

Not the same thing

July 15, 2009 4:05 PM

I have both apps installed on my iPhone, but the reason I use the Sirius/XM application is because I have a Sirius/XM radio in my car and I subscribe. Given that I pay $12.95/month for Sirius for my car and I'm not in my car all the time and I still want to use my subscription, I pay the $2.99/month to listen to Sirius/XM on my computer and my iPhone. I listen to the music stations and sometimes the news, but never Howard Stern. So many of the people who downloaded the Sirius/XM app for the iPhone were looking for FREE Howard Stern and were disappointed they couldn't get that. Given that people have to pay to use the Sirius/XM app beyond 1-week and Pandora is totally ad-supported and the copyright board raised fees on digitally streamed music feeds I don't see how Pandora is going to survive much longer being just ad-supported. Advertising dollars are dropping like crazy and Pandora's business model just doesn't make sense. They'll have to charge a subscription or find some investor who want to throw they're money away.

Not the same thing

July 15, 2009 4:05 PM

I have both apps installed on my iPhone, but the reason I use the Sirius/XM application is because I have a Sirius/XM radio in my car and I subscribe. Given that I pay $12.95/month for Sirius for my car and I'm not in my car all the time and I still want to use my subscription, I pay the $2.99/month to listen to Sirius/XM on my computer and my iPhone. I listen to the music stations and sometimes the news, but never Howard Stern. So many of the people who downloaded the Sirius/XM app for the iPhone were looking for FREE Howard Stern and were disappointed they couldn't get that. Given that people have to pay to use the Sirius/XM app beyond 1-week and Pandora is totally ad-supported and the copyright board raised fees on digitally streamed music feeds I don't see how Pandora is going to survive much longer being just ad-supported. Advertising dollars are dropping like crazy and Pandora's business model just doesn't make sense. They'll have to charge a subscription or find some investor who want to throw they're money away.

Rick

July 15, 2009 7:15 PM

Yes we know Sirus is dead pull the plug. So hows your stock doing in Pandora? Theres a big difference between the two and 18 million out 0f 300 million theres plenty of room for growth by all.

knowitall

July 16, 2009 12:36 PM

Yup SIRI is dead indeed. Why pay for SIRI when you can get Pandora free? Most people won't.

Funny how they pump up the million downloads. How many subs did that create? Probably 99% were looking to get somethig for free. Notice how it is no longer being downloaded.

SIIR is one of the biggest scams perpetrated. 18 million subs, still losing half a billion....LMAO

Pandora Rocks!

July 17, 2009 1:53 PM

I listen to pandora on my iphone all the time. With just a few skips I can get to the music by my favorite artist all the time, plus I do not mind listening to someone similar. It's terrific when I just let it play during a party. There's also a good deal of info. about the artist & the type of music I'm listening to just a click away.

Sirus...not so much.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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