The music-techno-chattering classes are pondering recent Pandora news: a huge drop in the online song server’s stock price, largely attributed to the launching of Apple Music. Bottom line: in the third quarter of this year Apple Music, claiming 6.5 million paying customers, pinched Pandora audience expansion to the tune of 1.3 million listeners.
“Let me address these audience growth numbers directly,” Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews coolly noted in an Earnings Conference Call held a couple of days ago. “This was obviously a unique quarter in the streaming music business. The June 30, launch of Apple Music with its 3-month free trial, as well as significant category spending and trial offers across multiple players, brought increased focus to the broader on-demand category during this period.”
I love it when CEOs use 50 words to say “ouch.” Not that I’m such a genius; quite the contrary. Back in July Jennifer and Paul posted reviews about Apple Music and Beats 1 radio in particular, so just for kicks I got myself a free three month Apple Music subscription. Next I went in and mucked around in iTunes, working out how to do the Apple Music thing and listening to all the Beats 1 blather. Then I completely forgot about the service until the Pandora news and I noticed that I was finally getting billed following the three month free trial that I completely blew off. So ouch myself.
Here are my lame excuses: I’m really really busy at my teaching job. There are too many other radio thingy-dingies that I’m supposed to know something about. But also when I go into iTunes on one of my desktop computers (I have a Mac and a PC) it’s, like, too much. The next thing you know there’s TV shows, movies, podcasts, “My Music,” “playlists,” “new,” “radio,” “connect,” The Store . . . I feel overwhelmed.
So what the hell, I thought, and I got an Apple Music tech support person to give me a guided tour of the whole shebang. We set up that simul-screen thing and he was very nice, but there’s only so much iTunes Apple Music Beats ooh-look-we-got-everything product I can take. Shortly after my tour I fled to New York City classical station WQXR’s Jonathan Channel and felt better for it.
As for Pandora, the above YouTube commentary notes that 6.5 million Apple Music listeners may not be that many in the larger scheme of things. McAndrews concluded that he was “pleased to say” that, “given the scale of press and consumer attention on this [Apple Music] launch, the impact on our active users and listening hours was muted and was, in fact, consistent with what we experienced during the launch of Apple’s radio service in 2013.” Except for the tanking stock price, of course.
I don’t know, maybe I’ll stick around Apple Music-land long enough for the Android app to surface (I’ve got a Note 4 and perhaps the mobile version is less overwhelming). But chances are I’m going to bail. There’s only so much Big Love from the Corporate Music God that I can stand.