Pandora blames Apple Music launch for low listener growth, but says impact was ‘muted’


Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine at Code Conference via Re/code

Pandora is announcing its Q2 2015 financial results today and as expected blamed the launch of Apple Music in June for low growth in listeners and an overall loss vs last quarter. While the company confirmed that it did indeed witness lower than normal growth numbers for the quarter, it described the overall impact of Apple Music as “muted”:

…we expected some short‐term impact to our audience  growth as listeners tried this highly‐promoted new service. I am pleased to say that, given the scale of press and consumer attention on this launch, the impact on our active users and listening hours was muted

Pandora officially reported 78.1 million monthly active users, an increase of 2% from last year, while its total listener hours increased 3% from last year to 5.14B. The company pointed out that the numbers mark an overall increase from the year ago quarter, but it also represents around 1 million fewer listeners since the previous quarter and launch of Apple Music.

The company previously warned investors that it would likely notice a drop in audience growth due to the launch of Apple’s new service during its Q2 earnings call.

Despite a clear impact from Apple Music, today the company’s CEO and president Brian McAndrews noted that the June 30th Apple Music launch impact was on par with what the company “experienced during the launch of Apple’s radio service in 2013,” seemingly downplaying the overall success of the service and any potential loss of market share to Apple.

Earlier this week Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the first official Apple Music numbers confirming the service has gained 6.5 million paid subscribers and 15 million total subscribers since its launch on June 30th. Apple is offering a 3 month free trial, which is one of the reasons Pandora expected to take a hit on its listener numbers. For the earliest adopters of the service free trials ran out on September 30, but it’s likely Apple will convert more users that were late to sign-up for the service in the months to come as more free trials expire.

Apple is also yet to launch the Android version of Apple Music, which it confirmed is on the way and just today leaked in some screenshots from an early beta.

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  1. luke0626 - 7 years ago

    Let’s see after they release Apple Music for Android.

  2. usmansaghir - 7 years ago


  3. kijijigod - 7 years ago

    Apple music, like music generally these days, blows. And everyone has heard the older songs so many times, it doesn’t matter how you package it, its the same old same old.

    • twelve01 - 7 years ago

      Kijijigod is either a million years old, has terrible taste or both. Music these days is great, and thier is more of it than ever. Just don’t rely on the radio to find it. Discovery is precisely what these services are designed for, and do well.

    • myke2241 - 7 years ago

      kijijigod, you sir have demonstrated you know nothing about music (or hate music who knows!) or how hard is to make it in the streaming game. i wish you luck in your world!

    • smartysanky - 7 years ago

      Even if you don’t buy an Apple Music subscription, even the Beats1 Radio is way better than any other competitor.

      • waltertizzano - 7 years ago

        Beats 1 is without doubt the worst part of Apple Music. Even the useless social is better, at least doesn’t play horrible music all the time. But until they’ll set a fair price in the UK I wouldn’t consider paying for Apple Music so I don’t care, the trial showed its no better than Spotify but Spotify at least offers a free tier which is great value for money (since you don’t pay any money ahah )

      • SleptOn (@JxSleptOn) - 7 years ago

        What about iheart radio on shuffle? imo a lot better.

      • Hal J Chan - 7 years ago

        waltertizzano I think this is pretty playful oxymoron, coz the only thing Beats 1 plays are the new songs…
        So, I think you kinda in agreement with kijijigod, music these days blows. lmao
        IMHO, I think Beats 1 does a great job delivering new and fresh music, they got tones of exclusives, not to mention, Beats 1 literally made Halsey this summer.
        I think the Spotify free tier really blows, sitting in a library reading US weekly😂😂😂 kind of book, you know, something very close to A BOOK, and I have to live through commercial breaks. I pay for my time alone with “mah” music and “mah” US weekly😂😂😂, I want to know more about Kanye😂😂😂 winning some dumb ass fashion award… lmao. 😂😂😂

    • standardpull - 7 years ago

      No radio station of any kind or technology can ever meet all tastes. Some people will love it and others will hate it.

      Some people love The Eagles and will travel 3500 miles, stay in a $700/night hotel, and pay $1000 per ticket over three nights to see them in concert.

      Others think that the Eagles are the worst ever, and would pay $400 for noise-cancelling headphones.

      Debating about how great or how bad Beats1 is… well that’s stupid. Because it is a matter of taste.

  4. SleptOn (@JxSleptOn) - 7 years ago

    Pandora charges for no commercials with a set amount of skips.

    Apple music charges for unlimited downloads, unlimited skips and no commercials.

    Seems like a no brainer.

  5. chopingman - 7 years ago

    Haven’t most people moved on to Amazon Prime by now? Everyone I know has.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.