Time has Passed By Pandora
Pandora was the first music streaming service I ever used. Although the user interface was somewhat odd, it was easy to use and I liked Pandora. But as other services appeared, things changed. Pandora began to seem somehow a part of the past, and their struggles to become profitable reflect that. There does not seem to be a solution. Is there any need for Pandora now? Does it make any sense for someone to acquire Pandora?
The Five Main Services the Market Needs All Exist Now, and They are:
- Spotify is (deservedly) the number service, and that will continue. For most people, Spotify is ideal.
- Apple Music is a good option for iPhone owners; not as good as Spotify, but it integrates well.
- Google Music will be large simply because Google is in general, and YouTube specifically is huge in music. Google has weak user interfaces, they confused the market by having more than one music streaming service, and YouTube Red is an awkward branding. But Google is so big, they have a role.
- Amazon Prime Music is another unique platform, like Apple Music; with a large potential customer base in Amazon Prime members.
- Custom/Niche music streaming services abound, and they are easy to set up.
Beyond those five, what interests me is higher quality or what is called “higher definition” music. Tidal and Pono are examples, and there are others. Spotify offers a higher bit rate than Apple music; Tidal is better than Spotify, and Pono is better than Tidal. They are niche services that deserve to grow. (Hello, Google?).
Pandora does not fit into any of the niches described above. I find their current UI (User Interface) to be the most boring one I have seen. It has very few options, and diminishes the value of Pandora. If you think about it, every mainstream (Non-HD) music streaming service has the same ‘product’ – the same catalog of music. So, if you combine that thought with the weak UI, then it looks bad for Pandora. I think they had too much success early on and they just lost their focus.
In conclusion, there does not seem to be any reason for Pandora to exist. Which makes it a very risky acquisition target as well. Im fact, I think a company would have to be desperate, to acquire Pandora – regardless of the price. The only value Pandora represents is their user base.
Now, if someone were to combine Pandora’s user base with the higher quality of Tidal and Pono, add a very clean UI like Spotify, and avoid branding mistakes – now that could be interesting.