After streaming music to listeners across the World Wide Web for the last eight years, Pandora has reached a milestone of 200 million registered users. The company accomplished the first 100 million user mark in 2011, meaning it doubled its user-base over the last two years compared to the six years it took Pandora to gain its first 100 million members. No wonder Apple wants a piece of the streaming radio market.
"We started this company to help people discover and enjoy music they love, and to help artists reach and grow their audiences," said Pandora Founder Tim Westergren. "Only in our wildest dreams did we imagine what it would become. It is now clear that radio is changing, and that's great news for music fans and for the tens of thousands of working artists who now have a home on the air."
The company said on Tuesday that it streams more than 200 million songs before 10am each day. Over 140 million listeners have tuned in to Pandora on a mobile device, and over 25 billion thumbs have personalized the users' stations. The average listener racks up to 20 hours of music discovery each month, and enjoys music across more than 400 curated genre stations whereas FM-based radio stations only play less than 40 genre formats.
In March alone, Pandora played more than 100,000 unique artists and more than 1 million unique songs, most of which received no other terrestrial radio airplay. That's more than 1.49 billion hours of music, or the equivalent of 170,510 years of non-stop music, Pandora said.
"When we launched Pandora in 2005, we hoped to create a new way to discover and enjoy music that was completely personalized for each and every listener," Westergren said. "We envisioned a time when artists of all kinds would thrive on radio, connecting with fans who loved exactly their kind of music."
"I have to admit, we had no idea what was in store! It has been, and continues to be, an extraordinary experience for all of us," he added.
Back in February Westergren said that as of March 1, Pandora will cap playback on mobile devices at 40 hours per month due to the rising per-track royalty rates imposed by record labels. The rates will climb another 9-percent in 2013 alone and will likely increase another 16-percent over the next two years. The only way to get a handle on the cost is to reduce the amount of mobile-based streaming.
"This is an effort to balance the reality of increasing royalty costs with our desire to maximize access to free listening on Pandora," Westergren said. "We will be sure to alert any of our listeners that start getting close to the 40 hour limit."