On stage at LeWeb in Paris, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek sent a tremor that we imagine reached all the way back at Pandora headquarters in Oakland. TechCrunch Alexia Tsotsis reports that Mr. Ek “innocuously” introduced a radio app, built on the company’s recently released app platform by Spotify’s dev team in New York.
His pitch: “It’s kind of like Pandora with unlimited skipping and unlimited stations.”
Except for the fact that Pandora has a mobile version, and Spotify’s app is still confined to the web (for now), it’s hard to imagine that Pandora, which caps users to 100 stations and eight song skips, isn’t feeling threatened.
Pandora ads are now worth more than traditional radio ads, Gigaom reports this morning after poring over the company’s first public filing. The company’s mobile apps, however, are still worth less to advertisers than its web application–showing how skewed the ad market still is years after the first innovation of the banner ad.
Bizarrely, Pandora’s ads still seem very basic. Non-subscribers must endure in-stream interruptions with spots that seem largely untargeted. (Once, this reporter remembers hearing an ad for an event in Philly while she was streaming from the West Coast. Come on, Pandora! Help yourself out! Even traditional radio has that geographical targeting right.)
Tech Bubble Watch
If you followed the downward trend of tech stocks like LinkedIn, Pandora, and Zillow in the media yesterday, chances are, at some point, you had to avert your eyes. USA Today uses no less than four foreboding verbs to describe how all three newly-public tech companies performed Monday after the S&P demoted America’s credit rating down to AA+:
“Shares of professional social network LinkedIn plunged 17%, to $75.47. Internet radio company Pandora tumbled 8% to $12.49. Real estate website Zillow crumbled 7% to $26.09. That came as the Dow skidded 635 points.”
Based on just that day of trading, Geoff Yang, a partner a Redpoint Ventures, told the paper, “The sound you just heard was the IPO window slamming shut.”
Betabeat was just starting to get a taste for anime soundtracks and neu rave when the news came down that Turntable.fm will be blocking international users. It’s an unfortunate setback for a start-up that already has investors questioning the legal troubles associated with its music rights.
Co-founder Billy Chasen sent out the tweet on Saturday. It’s nothing to be ashamed of really. Pandora has blocked international users for years, and Spotify, the biggest streaming music service in Europe, still hasn’t officially arrived in the U.S.. For a glass half full type, this might be a sign the start-up is rolling with the big boys.
The problem, as always, is that labels and publishers prefer to pursue an aggressive legal strategy and protect their shrinking revenues rather than learn from innovative music apps and build new business models.
The Savage Beast is back. Pandora just updated its S-1 filing to go public with the Securities and Exchange Commission, upping its market cap from $1.3 billion to $1.9 billion, at $12 a share. Pandora’s underwriters, who include Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Citi, must’ve realized the company would fetch more on opening day–and realized this sometime in the last week.
The Music Genome Project conceived by Pandora is the foundation for one of the most successful streaming radio apps of all time. But any serious audiophile who spends more than few days on the service quickly begins to notice the same tracks and artists repeating.
Part of the reason the catalog feels shallow is because its expensive to license new tracks. But another reason is that the Music Genome relies on human experts to evaluate each track, an extremely time consuming process. It’s why Pandora has less than 1,000,000 songs while competitors like Rhapsody have ten times that.
The team behind Clio, a new service for analyzing music, is taking the exact opposite approach.