struggled to take off, attracting less than 15,000 of Deezer’s 12m users by 2010. An overhaul saw the company partner with Orange to package subscriptions with phone contracts in France, a move that saw sign-up rates grow almost 20-fold. The service has continued this successful tactic through partnerships with Samsung, Toshiba and Sonos to bundle subscriptions with smartphones, connected TVs and hi-fi systems. The service currently works on a three-tier model. Discovery, its free mode, is supported by ads, with limited track skipping and no offline playback. Premium+ removes ads and skip limits for a €9.99 a month fee, while Elite subscriptions, costing €14.99, provide access to higher quality
than both Apple Music and Spotify, with around 40m songs in its service. However, with little in the way of exclusive content, and many US consumers already locked in to at least one other streaming service, it may be facing an uphill struggle.
Pandora First conceived in 2000, Pandora is something of an odd-one-out among streaming services, more closely resembling a radio station than a digital music player. The platform creates a playlist based on a genre or particular artist’s style, with users’ control limited to a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ button for individual songs. Tracks can be skipped, but only 12 times in a 24-hour period.
per cent of all internet radio and eight per cent of total radio listening in the US. The service has over 250m users, around 75m of whom are monthly active listeners. In Q2 2016, users listened to over 5.5bn hours of music via the service. Despite these huge numbers, Pandora hasn’t attracted a large subscriber base. It offers ad-free listening for $4.99 a month or $54.89 annually, but less than five per cent of active listeners have signed up for subscriptions. That may soon change, with the company reportedly exploring a more traditional streaming model to accompany its free, radio-style system, but there’s been no official confirmation of this yet. The ad-supported model makes Pandora one of the most viable marketing
Pandora is reportedly looking to offer a new on-demand service to boost subscriber numbers Deezer has encouraged subscriptions by packaging its services in partnership with Orange, Samsung, Toshiba and Sonos
audio files, but can only be played offline through Sonos systems. Deezer boasts around 6m subscribers, but only around half of those are considered active (having played at least 30 seconds of music in the last month). Most of the rest gained access to service through mobile contracts but have never bothered to actually use it. One of Deezer’s biggest challenges, and also one of its most substantial opportunities, is in the US. While the platform launched there in 2013, it was only available on a limited number of devices until earlier this year. Another deal with a mobile operator or smartphone maker in the US market could see it dramatically increase its subscriber numbers, and hopefully transform them into regular users. Deezer does boast more available tracks
The platform is largely used as a free service, and is financially supported mainly through advertising, as well as by providing businesses with licensed radio stations they can play in public locations. Listening via the service’s mobile app was originally limited to 40 hours per month, but Pandora removed that limitation in September 2013 in light of mobile’s increasing popularity. An estimated 91 per cent of all listening on the platform now comes from mobile devices. Due to the nature of its licensing deal with the major record companies, Pandora only operates in the US, Australia and New Zealand, making it something of an unknown brand to consumers outside those countries. Within these markets, however, it is a huge player. According to figures from the end of 2013, Pandora accounted for 70
platforms of the music streaming age. Its huge audience generates 1bn data points a day, and can be targeted programmatically using over 700 data segments. Plus, for those listening via mobile, audio spots can be supported with display, rich media and video ads onscreen. Pandora may be the odd-one-out, but it’s a model that businesses love.
Spotify In many ways, Spotify is the brand to beat when it comes to music streaming services. The Swedish firm has become almost synonymous with digital streaming platforms and, justifiably or not, has served as a lightning rod for some of the controversial issues surrounding the evolving way we consume music in the 21st
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