Pandora has been the leading free online streaming music radio in the US for many years now. Of course like any other brand or service it has its competitors; such as Spotify, iHeartRadio and many other online streaming. However, just recently in 2013, Apple’s iTunes launched its new iRadio. Speculations of iTunes radio topping Pandora were everywhere. iPhone users quickly tried out the new app, however what they found was not as exciting as expected. Turns out, iTunes Radio has similar features to Pandora and the differences, minimal.
“One factor in the company’s unshakeable dominance in streaming radio for over a decade is the quality and consistency of its music discovery algorithm, or what it calls The Music Genome Project.”
When listening to Pandora, users have the option to thumbs up or down a song and depending on the feedback the station becomes customized to users taste. iTunes Radio has incorporated a similar option. You can choose “Play more like this” or “Never play again.” A feature that most online streamers were already used to, therefore, it was not as enticing.
Another set back of iTunes Radio is that it is solely available on apple product and PC, not androids. Where as Pandora is available in all these platforms. Apple could have used this new service to top what Pandora is lacking. The option of repeating songs. If iTunes would have incorporated this option it would have been an almost guaranteed hit. But of course their main focus is not to become the top leading free online music streamer, but to increase their iTunes sales.
“The purpose of iTunes Radio is to sell more music. Pure and simple. Apple could recoup its losses by selling an ad or two or getting listeners to convert to iTunes Match subscribers, but the bet that it’s making is that the more good music it plays for you, the more of it you’ll be inspired to buy.”
Therefore, since Pandora is not interested in selling music, users can feel the difference. They do not feel pressured to have to buy music to build their own library since that is the reason they resort to online streaming in the first place right? Correct. So when it comes down to the two options, Pandora is on top, at least it had been for the past few years and even after the new iTunes Radio debut.