Pandora was acquired for $3.5bn. It’s since misplaced over 10m customers.


It was one of the music industry’s biggest stories of 2019: In February of that year, satellite radio giant SiriusXM announced that it had completed the acquisition of Pandora in a $ 3.5 billion all-stock transaction.

At the time, Pandora remained a mostly free, non-interactive music streaming service, but had introduced two emerging subscription levels: Pandora Plus for $ 4.99 per month and Pandora Premium for $ 9.99 per month.

The latter was once billed as a Spotify killer by Pandora. (Pandora’s ex-CEO Tim Westergren even boasted that at $ 9.99 a month, Pandora’s platform would be the first “true premium product” in the music streaming market.)

But two years later, after Sirius pledged billions of dollars to buy Pandora, the US-only music service’s user base continues to shrink rapidly.

According to SiriusXM’s recently published results for the second quarter of 2021, around 55.1 million monthly active users (MAUs) have been using Pandora in the three months ending June this year.

After a sustained decline in Pandora’s MAUs, that number came in at 55.1 million.

It’s also nearly 11 million lower than the platform’s MAU number (66.04 million) as of the end of Q1 2019, shortly after Sirius took over Pandora.

How fast was Pandora subscribing to it? Pandora’s own website still suggests that it “provides a highly personalized listening experience to approximately 70 million users each month.”

That was the case three years ago. Now it’s a full 15 million.

SiriusXM logo

Not that it harmed SiriusXM’s own prosperity.

For one, Pandora’s total ad revenue increased 82% year over year, despite the continued decline in users in the second quarter of 2021 (following the 2020 Covid turmoil), generating $ 383 million in the quarter.

That $ 383 million in revenue included off-platform results like Pandora’s AdsWizz business, and also outperformed Pandora’s pre-pandemic performance: the platform hit $ 306 million in Q2 2019.

“Including Pandora, total revenue for SiriusXM in the second quarter of 2021 was $ 2.16 billion, up 15% from $ 1.88 billion in the second quarter of 2020.”

Another set of numbers to keep an eye on: Pandora’s “self-payer” subscription business (ie not bundled into car purchase).

In the second quarter of 2021, the net number of Pandora self-payers increased by 118,000 via Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium.

The platform ended the quarter with 6.51 million self-payers compared to 6.25 million in the corresponding quarter of 2020.

Pandora’s total revenue – across advertising and subscriptions – was $ 516 million for the second quarter of 2021.

That was more than the $ 336 million Pandora generated in Q2 2020 and the $ 441 million the platform generated in Q2 2019.

Including Pandora, total SiriusXM revenues in the second quarter of 2021 were $ 2.16 billion, up 15% from the $ 1.88 billion in the second quarter of 2020.

The SiriusXM platform itself generated $ 1.64 billion in the second quarter of 2021, up from $ 1.54 billion in the same period last year.

Another great metric for Pandora is the total ad-supported listening hours in each quarter.

In the second quarter of 2021 – as just announced in Sirius’ latest financial results – Pandora attracted 3.03 billion ad-supported listening hours.

That was 3.29 billion in the same quarter of the previous year, after 3.49 billion in the second quarter of 2019 and less than 3.86 billion in the second quarter of 2018.

Of course, Pandora isn’t the only music-specific streaming service SiriusXM cares about these days.

In February 2020, SiriusXM made a minority stake of $ 75 million in SoundCloud.

In 2018, Pandora became the exclusive advertising agent for SoundCloud in the United States.

Earlier this year, SoundCloud signed up to sell advertising in 14 European territories through SiriusXM’s AdsWizz.

Pandora acquired the global advertising platform AdsWizz for 145 million US dollars in May 2018.Music business worldwide

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