Calif. — So many listeners have turned off Pandora
that Friday could have been called the day the music
died for the internet radio streaming pioneer.
Thursday, Pandora said it ended its third quarter with
73.7 million active listeners, more than 7 million fewer
than it had in the comparable quarter last year.
listener numbers, along with weaker-than-expected
advertising revenue and a disappointing fourth-quarter
forecast, had investors tuning Pandora out Friday, as
the company’s shares fell by almost 25 percent to
close at $5.59.
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.
launched Pandora Premium, its $9.99-a-month on-demand
music-streaming option, only in March. The company said
it ended the third quarter with 5.19 million subscribers
to Pandora Premium, and its other subscription offering,
Pandora Plus, which for $4.99 a month has no ads but
doesn’t offer on-demand music choices. As such, the
company remains dependent on its ad-supported service
for most of its revenue.
has been in upheaval for more than a year. This summer,
Sirius XM invested $480 million in Pandora, and
co-founder and CEO Tim Westergren left the company.
Westergren was replaced by former Sling CEO Roger Lynch,
who acknowledged Pandora’s challenges and renewed the
emphasis on appealing to advertisers and its ad-based
Pachter, of Wedbush Securities, said that patience will
be needed with Pandora, but that with Lynch in place,
the company should do a better job of spelling out to
Wall Street where it will put its emphasis in the
guys are now focusing on Pandora’s core business, and
are going to try to ramp advertising back to where it
had been working for them," Pachter said.