It was one of the biggest stories of the music industry of 2019: in February of that year, satellite radio giant SiriusXM announced that it is acquiring Pandora in a $3.5 billion full equity transaction.
At the time, Pandora remained a mostly free, non-interactive music streaming service, but had launched two emerging subscription tiers: the $4.99 per month Pandora Plus and the $9.99 per month Pandora Premium.
The latter was once billed by Pandora as a Spotify killer. (Pandora’s ex-CEO, Tim Westergren, even boasted that Pandora’s $9.99 a month platform would be the first music streaming market “truly premium product.”)
But two years after Sirius pledged multi-billion dollars to buy Pandora, the US music service’s user base continues to shrink rapidly.
According to SiriusXMs just released Q2 2021 results, approximately 55.1 million monthly active users (MAUs) were engaged with Pandora in the three months to the end of June this year.
Continuing a prolonged decline in Pandora’s MAUs, that figure of 55.1 million fell by almost a third (-32%) from Pandora’s all-time MAU peak of 81.5 million in Q4 2014.
It is also down nearly 11 million on the platform’s MAU tally (66.04 million) at the end of Q1 2019, shortly after Sirius acquired Pandora.
How fast has Pandora’s user decline been? Pandora’s own website still suggests that it offers a “highly personalized listening experience to approximately 70 million users per month”.
That was the case three years ago. Now it’s a full 15 million out.
Not that this has hurt SiriusXM’s own prosperity.
For starters, despite that ongoing user contraction, Pandora’s total ad revenue grew 82% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2021 (after the Covid-hit turbulence of 2020), generating $383 million in the quarter. .
That $383 million revenue figure included off-platform results, such as Pandora’s AdsWizz business, and was also higher than Pandora’s. pre-pandemic performance: The platform generated $306 million from advertising in Q2 2019.
“Including Pandora, SiriusXM’s total revenue in the second quarter of 2021 was $2.16 billion, up 15% from the $1.88 billion generated in the second quarter of 2020.”
Another set of numbers worth keeping an eye on: Pandora’s “self-pay” (ie not bundled into car purchases) subscription business.
In the second quarter of 2021, the net number of Pandora self-paying subscribers increased by 118,000 for Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium.
The platform closed the quarter with 6.51 million self-paying subscriptions, up from 6.25 million in the same quarter of 2020.
Pandora’s total revenue – from advertising and subscriptions – was $516 million in the second quarter of 2021.
That was more than the $336 million that Pandora generated in the second quarter of 2020 and the $441 million that the platform generated in the second quarter of 2019.
Including Pandora, SiriusXM’s total revenue in the second quarter of 2021 was $2.16 billion, up 15% from the $1.88 billion generated 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 striking statistic for Pandora is the total number of ad-supported listeners in each quarter.
In the second quarter of 2021 — as just announced in Sirius’ latest financial results — Pandora pulled 3.03 billion ad-supported listening hours.
That was down from $3.29 billion in the previous year’s quarter, down from $3.49 billion in the second quarter of 2019 and down from $3.86 billion in the second quarter of 2018.
Of course, Pandora isn’t the only music-specific streaming service SiriusXM is interested in these days.
In 2018, Pandora became the exclusive ad sale representative for SoundCloud in the United States.
Earlier this year, SoundCloud signed up to Sell ads in 14 European territories via SiriusXM’s AdsWizz.
Pandora has the global ad sales platform AdsWizz. taken over in a deal worth $145 million in May 2018.Music company worldwide