In 2019, satellite radio company SiriusXM announced they bought the music streaming service, Pandora, for a whopping $3.5 billion. Since this purchase, the Spotify competitor lost 10 million users, according to Music Business Worldwide. Pandora peaked in 2014 as the number one competitor to the dominant music streaming service Spotify. Since then, the portal has lost almost one-third of its users. In 2014, it had around 81 million users compared to 51 million in 2021.
In 2015, Pandora actually had more active users than Spotify, leading many to think the streaming wars would work in favor of Pandora, but then, in 2019 Spotify reported almost four times as many users than Pandora, 248 million Spotify users vs 63 million Pandora users.
One important reason for the low numbers of Pandora users is that the service is only available in the U.S., while Spotify is expanding its market more and more, even planning to launch their app in Russia. One might even suspect that the deal with SiriusXM is part of the problem and has something to do with the dropping numbers of users, but the satellite radio giant is doing pretty well for themselves. Even though Pandora doesn’t deliver to as many users anymore, it’s still a very profitable app for SiriusXM.
Spotify is currently making headlines as well, as many music organizations and artists are protesting against the Swedish company’s speech-recognition technology. In an open letter signed by around 180 artists and some human rights organizations, they explain that the technology would put Spotify “in a dangerous position of power in relation to a user,” as it can recognize the user’s age, emotional state, gender and other sensitive information. In April, Spotify announced their new streaming device for cars called “ Car Thing.” This device has a touch screen but will also feature voice control, activated by “Hey, Spotify.” The device includes a so-called noise suppressive mic that only reacts to the individual user’s voice.