One thing has become obvious over the last couple of years — on-demand streaming has won. Pandora did well for a number of years with its personalized radio experience but after a certain point, it arguably just created demand for a truly personalized service where users could control exactly what they wanted to listen to.
Apparently, having an algorithm guess at what you might like to hear next is not quite as good as allowing the user to make more granular decisions. In addition, Pandora benefited from the unique royalty model in the US but that also made it hard to export its business model elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Spotify has eclipsed Pandora’s user numbers and, adding in Apple Music, Deezer, Rhapsody and others, makes clear which way the wind is blowing – Pandora’s model has stalled, while on-demand streaming is the future. Hence, Pandora’s acquisition of Rdio and the pursuit of rights for on-demand streaming.