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Pandora Says October Listening Up 65%

‘We understand the music we’re playing,’ says Chairman/CEO Joe Kennedy

Pandora says its listener hours for October were 1.25 billion, up 65% from 754 million during the same period last year.

The Internet audio service also says its share of total U.S. radio listening is 6.5%, also up, some 4% from this time last year.

Because Pandora calculates radio market share using a seven-day trailing period as of the end of the month, this figure was temporarily suppressed by the effect of Hurricane Sandy. As of Oct. 24, the company says its market share was 6.75%. The company reported just over 59 million active listeners at the end of October, an increase of 47% from the roughly 40 million during the same time period last year.

In discussing its listener numbers with investors Wednesday at a Wells Fargo conference, Pandora Chairman/CEO Joe Kennedy addressed speculation about a possible takeover by a larger company, or increased competition from new competitors. He said Pandora’s 12 years of intellectual property development would make it hard for another company to do what it does. “One of the most fundamental differences between our IP and others is we know the difference between Bob Marley” and other artists, he said as an example. “We have patents on core methods we use in the playlist algorithm.”

The approach others take is to use information from what listeners like “and then the music begins to stray,” said Kennedy. “We understand the music we’re playing. Yes, someone likes this song or that song, but it doesn’t mean they go together.”

Pandora has analyzed more than one million songs; its uses that information plus crowdsourcing information as part of its music algorithm technology.

Consumers listened to Pandora, on average, 21 hours for the month of October.