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First look: Pandora 4.0, the new mobile frontier
"We started thinking about creating a mobile service in 2004," Pandora CTO Tom Conrad told us in an interview. "We wanted to unify the Pandora experience." ..... and Pandora found itself one of the top five most downloaded mobile applications. Over the next four years 75 percent of Pandora listening shifted to smartphones. The company says that over 115 million registered users have tuned into the service on a smart mobile. The platform represents around 55 percent of its advertising revenue. ....... Pandora 4.0 for iOS smartphones goes live for download in the App Store at 5 pm EDT on Monday, 29 October. The Android version is going to take a little longer to show up in Google Play—"in the coming weeks," we were told. The upgrades arrive as the smartphone radio field is diversifying and expanding. Pandora still has a huge profile, but is hardly the only kid on the block. Spotify, Rdio, Last.fm, Turntable.fm all have big followings in the United States. Even Apple has been making noises about setting up a Pandora rival for the iPhone and iPad. ..... "When we launched in 2005, AOL and Microsoft were the largest services; MySpace was the gorilla in the room," Conrad noted. "Clear Channel was getting serious about iHeartRadio. What has allowed us to succeed despite stiff competition is that we are dedicated to the future of radio. We have a simple, elegant product to which we are devoted, and which we think we can produce better than anybody else." ...... Pandora says about half of its revenues go to performance royalties. The proposed legislation in both its Senate and House forms would put rates on a par with those paid by satellite and cable-based radio services. ...... the rates paid to various artists featured on the service. Two thousand will receive over $10,000 each over the next 12 months. "And for more than 800 we'll pay over $50,000, more than the income of the average American household"