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Why iTunes Radio Could Take Down Pandora 166

Posted by timothy
from the bite-my-shiny-metal-disks dept.
cagraham writes "Pandora has been the standard for internet radio since it launched in 2000, and just announced the appointment of new CEO Brian McAndrews. They claim they're not worried about Apple, but iTunes' massive user base (575 million), content deals, and cheaper pricing options should give them legitimate reason for concern. Can Pandora survive iTunes Radio? Do a-la-carte options like Spotify make any internet radio service irrelevant?"
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Why iTunes Radio Could Take Down Pandora

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  • by theotago (2962575) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @08:30AM (#44848007)
    Cannot use Pandora in the UK and haven't heard any friends using it in Europe, so I wouldn't call it a standard.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You can include Canada in that list. I'm 90% sure it's US only.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by angularbanjo (1521611)
      It's probably 'standard' in the same sort of sense that the 'World Series' Baseball championship means nothing to anyone outside the 100-mile Fourth Amendment Exclusion Perimeter
      • by JustOK (667959)

        Blue Jays!

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Sigh, this is ridiculous. Yes, the World Series is somewhat overblown, but players in those games come from pretty much all over the world. I can't think of any from African nations, but there's tons of players from Asia and South America that play the game, if having players from about a third of the world doesn't make it international, that's a bit ridiculous.

        • by Smauler (915644)

          Football teams all over Europe use international players - iirc, the premiership is about 1/3 English, the rest are foreign. And that does include Africa, and every other continent on the earth. Doesn't mean we call it the world anything though. Doing so for a club competition would seem a little obtuse, and arrogant.

          I guess it's up to you what you call your club competitions.

      • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

        what's the fourth amendment exclusion perimeter? I thought at first you meant the US borders (no 4th amendment allowed within), but that would be like 8,000 miles

        • by stoploss (2842505) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @06:33PM (#44852105)

          what's the fourth amendment exclusion perimeter? I thought at first you meant the US borders (no 4th amendment allowed within), but that would be like 8,000 miles

          Customs and Border Patrol have declared that their jurisdiction extends to within 100 miles of any border of the US.

          Probably is some sort of mumble, mumble...Interstate Commerce!mumble mumble interpretation of the Constitution or something else that is intellectually dishonest and prima facie farcical, yet has been upheld by our perfidious judiciary as Constitutional.

          It's shit like this that makes me wish we didn't have a written Constitution. The goddamn politicians were always going to do whatever they wanted, regardless of what any document says. At least if you don't have a written Constitution they don't look you in the eye and swear that growing chicken feed on your own land and feeding it to your own chickens is interstate commerce. Or that the Founders meant for border security to be able to turn the preponderance of the country into a police state. Or that simply existing is a legitimate rationale for levying a tax. Or that ex post facto regulations don't count as laws, even though you must abide by them or face punishment. Or that according to the 4th amendment it is fine for the federal government to track all mail forever, all phone calls forever, etc, etc.

          It's the fucking hypocrisy that gets to me. I'm counting the years until I can get out.

    • Pandora is my only "radio" the same way Netflix is my only "TV programming". It has an app for all of my smart appliances and it does a really good job of figuring out what I want. I don't know what I would do without it.
    • I never used pandora since I am in canada (and no im not using a fucking proxy just for a radio station), but I just signed up with slacker last week and am thoroughly enjoying it.
    • by msobkow (48369)

      You can't even use it in Canada, and we're right next door.

      As per usual, the US companies and article authors are confusing "America" with "The World."

  • So we had the 64 bit "story" yesterday, and now an even less believable claim which relies upon the notion that the iPhone is the most common phone platform, used by nearly all music listeners. Somehow I think that, while Pandora and Spotify et al have their commercial threats, this isn't one of them.

    Either way, it's kinda sad that this passed through Slashdot's slashvertisement filters.

    • What filters?

    • The iPhone is the most common phone... (not platform).
      You somehow ignored iPad though....
      • I didn't ignore anything. If you think either of these points is remotely relevant to the point I made, then you didn't understand the point (or else you have a very warped understanding of business economics!)

        • Your point was that iTunes Radio isn't a threat to Pandora. You also ignored the fact iTunes Radio will be available in more countries than Pandora (something investors will be concerned about). Also, you ignored the fact the growth of streaming radio is mostly in the mobile space. Also, you ignored the fact there are currently more iTunes users than Pandora subscribers.
  • iTunes Bloat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrDoh! (71235) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @08:38AM (#44848027) Homepage Journal
    If it's something that doesn't reduce the machine to a crawl, maybe it'll have a chance. I want a small player, maybe even a plugin to winamp, that once authenticated, just plays in the background. Use a webpage to manage playlists if need be.
    Anything but the monstrosity of iTunes.
  • Pandora and Spotify work on every platform... yet iWhatever only works on one that has a very small share of the total mobile market. I think they can survive just fine if they are selling something people want.
    • Except Pandora is pretty much US only, and even though Spotify is available in about 3 dozen countries or so, still doesn't have a user base of more than 20 million. I suspect iTunes Radio will be available for every market where there's a local iTunes music store. A much much much bigger possible market.Will Pandora survive? Probably, though it will probably lose listeners. Spotify may not. In either case, I would think that iTunes radio would have a much bigger userbase than both combined.

      • by teg (97890)

        Except Pandora is pretty much US only, and even though Spotify is available in about 3 dozen countries or so, still doesn't have a user base of more than 20 million. I suspect iTunes Radio will be available for every market where there's a local iTunes music store. A much much much bigger possible market.Will Pandora survive? Probably, though it will probably lose listeners. Spotify may not. In either case, I would think that iTunes radio would have a much bigger userbase than both combined.

        No reason to suspect iTunes Radio will be available for every market where there's a local iTunes music store - it's missing in quite a few countries. E.g here in Norway. And there are tight links between iTunes Match and iTunes Radio - there's no ads in the radio if you have iTunes Match [apple.com].

      • by jrumney (197329)

        I suspect iTunes Radio will be available for every market where there's a local iTunes music store.

        I don't know why you would suspect that. Apple has no record of consistency in offering all their services to all markets. They need to negotiate the same licenses with the same companies that Pandora and Spotify do, and they will hit the same obstacles that have held them back.

        • except there are a few streaming radio stations available in Canada, such as rdio, and slacker, so it obviously can be done. Who knows what hopes they had to jump through to get in
        • I'm sure the meetings with the record companies went something like this:
          Apple" iTunes has 65% of digital music sales. With iRadio, listeners will be able to buy a song directly in the player. Failure to allow us to spin your records in iRadio will cost you money".
          Record execs: "Where do we sign???"

    • It is not enough to merely sell what people want; In order to survive one must also sell enough of what people want to bring the cost of creating that which they want down enough to yield profit in so doing.

      In that respect, given your small market share statement, then the headlines should be: Will iTunes Radio survive against the likes of Pandora and Spotify and and SkyDrive and Google Drive and streaming to your devices from your personal cloud at home... Not to mention the increasing popularity of copy

      • Not to mention the increasing popularity of copyright free music such as found on streaming services like Jamendo and Magnatune

        How do people discover these services and these free-culture-supporting bands in the first place? Not everybody has a data plan, a car stereo with an AUX input, and the motivation to keep plugging an audio cable into the phone. This means people keep discovering RIAA bands through the convenience-by-default of in-car FM radio.

        • YouTube?

          Actually, Google Music's All Access has a fair quantity of cover artists as well. Not sure about other radio options.
          • by tepples (727027)

            How do people discover these services and these free-culture-supporting bands in the first place? Not everybody has a data plan

            YouTube?

            You must not be an American. Due to poor or nonexistent public transit in much of the United States and a perception that public transit is for people with poor hygiene, a lot of American workers end up driving a motor vehicle to and from work. You can't wander YouTube while driving, and even if you can take good public transit, you still need an expensive data plan to do so on the commute.

        • There is an ancient device called a radio that plays all manner of music and is advertising supported. Check it out
          • This means people keep discovering RIAA bands through the convenience-by-default of in-car FM radio.

            There is an ancient device called a radio that plays all manner of music

            In my experience, a radio doesn't "play[] all manner of music". It plays only music published by labels big enough to afford payola, and this music is inevitably non-free.

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          From all the videos on MTV!

  • Certainly they're concerned, but honestly, the drones that follow every whiff of apple are going to do just that. There's no convincing them that anything not-apple is any good, it's nigh unto a religious zeal, so that audience has ALWAYS been lost to anyone not named Jobs.

    Nevertheless, this has equally spawned a smaller but dedicated cadre of apple-haters, who will use any service that ISN'T apple for a number of reasons.

    Personally, I think one could have a comfortably successful business based solely on

  • unless i can access itunes radio without installing an app, pandora wins automatically for that. also, not buying an ifon5
  • by astro (20275) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @08:56AM (#44848115) Homepage

    I find the summary nearly trollish. There is no standard bearer in internet radio, and if there were, I don't think Pandora would be it. Yes, lots of people use Pandora. Lots also use Last.fm, and/or listen to the tens of thousands of independent internet radio stations out there - many of which are actually, I believe, much more in the spirit of "radio" than automated algorithmic music-recommendation services like Pandora and Last.

    I say these indie stations (House of Sound [houseofsound.org] is one that I co-founded, and I currently DJ at Radio 23 [radio23.org] - there are thousands of others) are more in the spirit of radio, because they actually have live DJs, "spinning" (sometimes literally) records, mp3s, YouTubes, even cassettes, on a constant basis. These "stations" are interactive to a degree that music recommendation services are not - they are inflected by the taste of the DJ, many have live-chat or call-in features, and they are in real time.

    My conclusion is that neither Pandora nor Last.fm are actually "radio" at all. Pandora recommends music to a listener based on pseudo-scientific analysis of what a person listens to (key, tempo, tone, volume, etc.) and Last uses the Amazon social model (x people who listened to y track also listened to z). I find, personally, Last's social model to be more effective for me than Pandora's algorithmic approach. Neither are radio. Radio, to me, whether based on radio waves or not, is a real person exposing their tastes, quirks, personality and even mistakes.

    • For me, radio has always been about automated music selection, and I have been frustrated with having to listen to what this real person thought. So Pandora is radio, perfected.

    • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @10:08AM (#44848439) Homepage

      A major problem with Pandora is you never hear, in theory, anything you dislike -- but also never hear anything NEW, you MIGHT like, either.

      I remember about a year, maybe two, ago there was discussion about Google and Bing and the like "censoring" your search results -- tailoring them to news sources and (this is the big one) ideologies that it thought you were a part of, due to their data mining.

      This created a minor bubble, a lesser kind of the bubble you see Fox News (or god forbid, Infowars) followers stuck in. This is a disaster in the making when dealing with news, but it's also pretty darned bad when talking about entertainment.

      For example, I use Pandora for stand up comedy. I have a station for each comedian, and the new shuffle thing at least mixes things up. But I never hear comedians other than the X number of stations I have +/- a few more, give or take a rare playing of some odd or new comedian.

      Contrast this with playing a comedy radio station, an actual radio station, one where the music is all set by a DJ or a "impartial" randomization routine. Will I hear stuff I dislike? Probably. Will I hear new stuff I wouldn't have heard on Pandora? Absolutely.

      I don't know how to fix that particular problem. Maybe Pandora should allow for an option where for an hour a day, or at random, it goes into "Pandora Power Hour" where it loosens up the algorithms and intentionally makes you listen to things you might not have known you liked? Not sure.

      • Which is really why I avoid Pandora in the first place. Google Music All Access does a decent job of introducing you to new music. In fact, I'd say they have a harder job sticking in things you like (especially if you have a large library already uploaded) than finding new things; by starting a radio based on a song or album that I enjoy, I might hear another familiar track once or twice in that whole playlist.
    • by msobkow (48369)

      Amongst many other streaming services in Canada, we have CBC Music [music.cbc.ca], which covers a wide variety of properly licensed streams. In fact, some of the other internet radio stations in the country are right pissed at the agreements CBC managed to sign up to, and even the record companies have cried "foul" over the fact that CBC has the right to stream their entire catalogues for a fixed fee.

      But they can't do jack shit about it, because they negotiated the contract -- they just didn't think it through.

      Much

  • Look for Google to buy Pandora, Spotify or some other service. Internet radio/music streaming seems like a viable option for Google to deliver ads to.
    • Don't think it needs to. Google Music already has a subscription all-you-can-eat streaming service and while I haven't used it, my understanding is that it's pretty much a Rhapsody clone, complete with pseudo-radio stations (like the others.)

    • by gooman (709147)

      If anyone wants a shot at killing Pandora, get Microsoft to buy them.
      They can rename it "Windows X-Box Zune Radio" and only make it work on Windows 8.

      Now watch someone at MS get a raise by stealing my idea.

  • The (minor) advantage of iTunes radio is that you can tap to buy a song while it's playing. That's their angle with the service being free (ads aside). You steer the broadcast in the direction you want, they provide you with suggestions. So from what I understand, it's basically Pandora with in app song purchasing. The disadvantage for someone like me: while I have both a Mac and and an iTunes account, I use an Android. If Apple really wants to hit hard with this, they will need to come out with an Android
  • by lophophore (4087) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @09:41AM (#44848257) Homepage

    iTunes was good 6 major releases ago: iTunes 4. Every release since then has gotten slower and more bloated than the last. Yecch.

    This is the uphill battle Apple faces: the client is a pig.

    A lightweight client (ala Google Music) has a much greater chance for success.

  • Both can do well. But Pandora needs to grow rapidly globally

  • by plazman30 (531348) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @10:09AM (#44848443) Homepage
    Well, since iTunes Radio only works on Apple Devices, and Pandora works everywhere, I would not be too worried.
    • by Mr_Silver (213637)

      Well, since iTunes Radio only works on Apple Devices, and Pandora works everywhere, I would not be too worried.

      Given that the "everywhere" support that Pandora has is actually restricted to only three countries - if iTunes Radio works on all Apple devices worldwide, I would be worried.

  • It is the same way in which iTV took down the cable providers. Oh wait...

  • If not, she'll open her box.

  • It's free, with occasional donation requests.
  • "Take Down", in general, refers to a DMCA or similar violation, where the legal system removes a web site. This is NOT what you meant.

    Try "Why iTunes Radio Could Defeat Pandora".

  • by Pop69 (700500) <billy.benarty@co@uk> on Saturday September 14, 2013 @12:58PM (#44849661) Homepage
    Just out of interest.

    Isn't using your monopoly in one area (online music sales) to leverage your entry into another market (online radio) the definition of abuse of monopoly ?
    • Isn't using your monopoly in one area (online music sales) to leverage your entry into another market (online radio) the definition of abuse of monopoly ?

      Yes, it is illegal to use a monopoly in one market to seek to gain a monopoly in another market. At least here in the US.

      That said, Apple has something like 60% of the market for online music. Amazon has somewhere around 30%. Not really "monopoly" numbers.

  • 1) There are enough it's-Apple-therefore-I-hate-it types out there that there will always be a market for an iTunes Radio alternative. Those people have existed ever since there WAS an Apple, they're not going away, and they listen to music too.

    2) Spotify is fine for accessing music I already know about and like. But I have most of that in my iTunes library already. So I wound up canceling my premium account. Where Pandora really shines is in introducing me to new artists/songs/albums that I'll probab

  • Pandora easily works across all platforms, itunes is fairly limited. Andriod devices, smart tvs, gaming devices, set top boxes can use pandora but unlikely to ever get itunes.
  • I've been using Pandora since shortly after launch. I've been using iTunes Radio since the beta launched.

    Generally I prefer iTunes Radio, although there are some custom stations I've made in Pandora that I can't seem to get the same level of match quality in iTunes Radio. Usually the opposite is true though, the stations in iTunes seem to be better matched and have more songs rotating.

    It's also hard to beat that iTunes Radio is commercial free with iTunes Match, which I have anyway, so it's just a bonus.

  • Given I've never used Pandora, it's hard for me to accept calling it a standard. But then I like to play songs I choose on my own, from USB drives or an ancient iPod or whatever. I'm not sure I even know what Pandora is supposed to give me that I don't already have.

    It seems to me, the main thing wrong with commercial radio is the idea that somebody at a station (or these days, a software package) plays songs in the order they dictate and you sit there passively consuming it. Pandora seems awfully simila

  • Pandora doesn't have the selection I want, and I'm not an apple user so I wont use iTunes.
    I have other places to buy mp3 cds and my music discovery of choice is Spotify.

    Amusing my car has a pandora app, but I use bluetooth to stream spotify music and metadata.

    So again, how is Pandora and iTunes the standard?

    • by jsepeta (412566)

      Spotify pays artists the least of all online streaming services, and since I have a lot of friends who are professional musicians, I will never use Spotify. Inking a deal with Facebook just sealed the deal for me.

      Apple's iTunes has not improved their Genius selection system in any obvious way since its release. I'm still waiting for it to recognize and understand my large collection of ska, reggae, trance, punk, and other music that doesn't fall under the pop or classic rock genres. That's something that La

  • Everyone hated Myspace so when Facebook popped up, they hopped on it. Everyone hates Pandora because of the "skipping" policy and obnoxious and repetitive ads. Apple doesn't release products that aren't annoying, overcontrolled, and generally a bad user experience to enable huge profits for themselves. Because of that, they will never go anywhere. Take their pathetic Facebook knock off mobile.me as an example. It was too "Appled up" for anyone to use it.

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