Pandora Outsells Apple on iOS App Store

Pandora Media Inc.’s (NYSE:P) radio-streaming service is the top-grossing app in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS App Store, according to recent research.

App analytics firm App Annie conducted the research. Pandora makes its money from premium subscriptions and ad sales, and the company has increased its monthly revenue by putting a limit on the amount of time users can spend streaming music from Pandora radio for free. Listeners can have free access to the radio service for up to 40 hours a month via mobile. The company put a similar limit on listening time in 2009, but lifted the cap two years later. Listeners now have the choice of either paying $0.99 each month they exceed 40 hours of listening, or upgrading to Pandora’s ad-free premium service for $3.99 a month.

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Pandora beat out apps made by Apple itself. App Annie said of the data, “Its accomplishment is even more impressive given that it was based on just a single app.” Pandora came in fourth in Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google Play app store for Android devices, behind Asian apps LINE, GREE, and Kakao.

Pandora recently teamed up with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) to offer listeners the opportunity to link Pandora radio to their Facebook accounts. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm determines which of your Facebook friends’ listening choices you see in your News Feed, and there is an option to turn off Facebook sharing when listening to something you wouldn’t want Facebook friends to see.

Even with the chart-topping sales and increases in subscribers and revenue, Pandora has struggled to make profits. Internet radio services have had a tough time competing with revenue made from satellite radio. Satellite radio companies like Sirius-XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) offer services that are much more expensive than the almost-free Pandora, but customers are willing to pay about $20 a month for satellite radio’s unique programming and the ease of use it offers by coming pre-installed in most new vehicles.

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Pandora’s net loss increased from $20.2 million last year to $28.6 million last quarter. The company has only managed to turn a profit in one quarter since it went public in 2011.

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