Home Entertainment Pandora’s music box to close in Australia and NZ

Pandora’s music box to close in Australia and NZ

Music streaming service Pandora is set to close its Australian and NZ operations, with the day the music dies after 31 July, to “laser focus” its operations on the US.

Pandora offered a curated music radio-style service rather than individual user-selected song streaming as with Spotify, Apple Music, Google Music and others.

Its letter to customers reads as follows;

“Dear Pandora listener,

“We will be shutting down the Pandora service in Australia and New Zealand and July 31st, 2017. After this date, you will no longer be able to access the Pandora app or website.

“We’re honoured to have connected so many listeners with the music they love in the past few years.

“Thank you for your loyalty and the opportunity to serve you.

“Sincerely,
“The Pandora Team”

So, what might be some reasons behind Pandora’s box finally being closed – at least Down Under and in the land of the long white cloud?

 Well, AdNews has some background info.

The advertising industry site explains that Pandora’s local staff were surprised by the news, and had packed up and gone by the end of June.

While there was confusion as to whether local listeners would continue being able to access the service, the decision was made close local operations.

This comes after a deal with supermarket chain Woolworths, the hiring of a new marketing executive, a deal with Rolling Stone magazine and a tripling of sales staff.

Woolworths was shocked by the move, and now needs to find a new partner.

There’s no concrete news as to precisely why Pandora has shut shop locally, but we can make some guesses.

First, is the fierce competition from players like Spotify, Apple Music and others.

Then there’s what must have been growing marketing costs as described above, which would have needed to be balanced by local revenue.

There’s also the need to make enough money for all these operations, but also to make enough to pay artists, and the need for enough premium subscribers, too.

A Business Insider report notes that, in the US, most of Pandora’s listeners took the ad-supported version, rather than paying for a premium subscription.

We see that there are only four million premium members in the US, but the free service has 77 million monthly users – a figure well over double the number of people in both Australia and New Zealand put together, let alone what vastly smaller proportion must have been either premium subscribers or free users in Australia.

There’s also the issue of people complaining they don’t have enough money to pay electricity bill in Australia, and competition for your monthly subscription dollar from so many sources – SVOD TV show and movie providers such as Netflix, Stan and Foxtel, Pandora’s aforementioned music competitors, and a range of other online services all wanting some of your money per month.

Perhaps the future will be a streaming service that offers a the trifecta of music, TV show and movies. This will probably extend to a single monthly subscription that offers not only those services, but also books and magazines.

What you’d pay for such a monthly subscription is yet to be seen, as will how long it will take us to get there, but just as there has been consolidation in various parts of the tech world, it is clearly happening now with streaming music, too.

So, listen up. Pandora’s box is closing in Australia and New Zealand, but with various other competitors including free YouTube streaming still existing, 31 July in no way represents the day the music stopped or died.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.