34% of Internet radio users surveyed would switch to Apple’s iRadio and some believe this is a major problem for Pandora. I remember when Google was going public, similar research showed users would also switch to a better search engine given the opportunity. The challenge is many people are set in their ways and inertia keeps them from switching.
What Apple needs to do is make the radio integration so solid that you have no choice but to try it and perhaps like it better than the service you currently use.
As a fan of EDM I can tell you Pandora has been terrible these last few years with a library which is woefully out of date. Slacker was terrible at EDM but over the last few years their combination of artists and songs has become amazingly good.
Songza too has been amazing and another Internet radio player which I believe should be used by every serious music listener.
This leaves us with another favorite - Sirius XM… Their BPM, Electronic Area and Tiesto stations are quite solid and perhaps some of the best Internet radio experiences available for EDM lovers.
Pandora Playing Barcelona Nights Radio
Of course there are other genres – I am also a fan of Ottmar Liebert and have a Pandora station with my favorite song from this artist – Barcelona Nights. The station basically plays good but the same music every time with very little variation for a few hours and then starts playing music which is fairly unrelated and poor.
The point is Pandora could certainly improve its algorithms for music selection. Slacker is my favorite Internet radio service because it not only seems to have very good choices of artists and songs but also allows radio stations to be stored for times when you have limited battery, poor service or don’t want to eat data minutes up.
Apple has Genius which obviously will be leveraged heavily when creating custom stations. To date I haven’t been a fan of Genius – it doesn’t seem to match the music I like at all. Perhaps it works better for others and for Cupertino’s sake it better if they want to be a threat in this crowded space.
One wonders however what the benefit is to Apple having a radio service as many users buy music on iTunes they discover on these radio services anyway. Moreover, the business doesn’t seem to be profitable enough to invest in for the company. The logic could be that by providing the service as well, they can ensure users buy the music from them and aren’t pushed to buy music from a rival service like Amazon. In fact if Amazon purchase one or more of these Internet radio services they could cajole users to do just that.
In closing, iRadio won’t kill Pandora but the company could kill itself if it doesn’t keep up with superior music matching services which are proliferating.