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Spotify, Pandora and radio

 A fascinating session, chaired by Francis Currie, looked at the threats and opportunities from the new wave of music streaming services.

 Kicking off the session was Ross Adams, Spotify's European Sales Director giving a whistle-stop tour through the product and telling us they have 24m active users in 20 countries, generating $500 million for record companies. 
He felt that they were more a friend than a foe to the radio industry and that there were many opportunities to work together. In the UK 16 per cent of the Spotify users don't listen to commercial radio and only 10 per cent listen to the public service BBC - this gives a large opportunity for radio to reach new audiences. 
Spotify works with Absolute Radio and, free magazine, Shortlist on combined campaigns. Whilst there's competition for some radio advertising between radio and Spotify, Ross talked about Spotify's route to advertising often being through digital teams rather than radio's radio teams.
The key features Spotify's working on now are: 

  • Features - particularly discovery and sharing
  • Expansion - into more countries
  • Innovation - new ways for partners to leverage their music catalogue.

Larry Rosin, from Edison Research, talked about his relationship with US music streaming service, Pandora. In the United States, Pandora accounts for 66 per cent of all streaming (including all US radio output). 42 per cent of Americans have listened to Pandora, 27 per cent have listened in the last month, and 20 per cent tune in to Pandora every week - a huge amount of reach.
Edison developed some research to map Pandora's consumption onto existing listening metrics. This produced figures showing Pandora was the number one station for 18 to 34s in the top five biggest US radio markets. Larry then talked about the negative feedback he received from US radio groups - he felt they clearly saw it as a problem and wanted to do whatever they could to try and discredit the operation. What he felt they should have been doing is developing their own new properties to deliver new types of radio to listeners.
Radio consultant Denis Florent from Radioformat built on Larry's position explaining that new music services were combining smart algorithms, and providing both a social layer as well as mobile ubiquity - something that radio's been historically good at. To win against them he felt it was important to combine filters, our skill at prescribing and brand value to deliver greater benefit over (and sometimes through) these services.

Listen to the session: