Pandora is the World’s Most Popular Radio Station

While we weren’t watching, radio has come out of the box – the Pandora box.  Pandora has become the world’s most popular radio station, and the most popular local station competing with powerhouse local stations.   With its 82 million listeners, traditional terrestrial radio isn’t even close.  According to Pandora Chief Financial Officer Mike Herring, the Pandora online brand is now #1 in 14 of the top 15 radio markets.

In the Top Most Downloaded Apps

#2 total time spent on mobileFurther proof of Pandora’s popularity is its place as the 2nd most downloaded iPhone app.  And that’s what has changed the landscape – iPhones first and then smartphones in general.  In the U.S., 73% of smartphone users listen to online radio on their smartphone.  Pandora is also #2 in total time spent on mobile devices, behind Facebook.

Persons listening to online radio has soared from 5% in 2000 to 53% in 2015.  We are all listening on mobile, web, tablet, in-car and consumer electronics.

The Connected Audience We All Want

That type of connected audience is a dream for marketers.  Pandora provides an uncluttered environment where advertisers can actually stand out.  There are less than four commercial messages in the typical hour.  And the ability to not only fit into their lifestyle but their music preferences is a boon for advertisers.

The targeting capability for Pandora is limitless – by age, by gender, by market, by zip code, by music, by station, by platform.  Location targeted campaigns are on the rise because of the ability to target more efficiently.  The ability to cross analyze data can provide information as granular as what stations Republicans and Democrats listen to.  And as Eric Bieschke, Pandora’s Chief Scientist, told the New York Times, “It’s becoming quite apparent to us that the world of playing the perfect music to people and the world of playing perfect advertising to them are strikingly similar.”

A recent national study from Edison Research and Triton Digital called “The Infinite Dial 2015” says that 119 million people listen to online radio weekly for an average of 12 hours and 53 minutes, primarily using Pandora (45 percent of users).  When asked what medium was the most important to them, 54% of respondents rated the internet versus 9% for terrestrial radio.   Pandora is the most recognizable brand in music online with 75% awareness and ranking as the most used.

AM/FM radio still dominates in-car usage but online radio in-car usage has more than doubled in the past two years.   That’s because sites like Pandora are becoming embedded in our vehicles.  Pandora is now in ten of the top ten cars introduced this year.

The new frontier that will push online radio to even great usage is the ability to easily access online music from your car audio system.   While 73 percent of users listen to online radio on their smartphone, only 35 percent of users listen to online radio in their car.  But the shift has begun.

Radio has been such an essential part of music discovery.  And it still will fill that role, just online.

Pandora is expanding their local rep market to better serve local and national advertisers.  Our new rep in Nashville is Cathy Sewell (csewell@pandora.com).  Her favorite Pandora stations are FooFighters, Bruno Mars and Maroon 5.  What are yours?

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