Music streaming gets messy
In the past month, three of the largest music streaming companies all declared major business changes:
- Pandora, which has 81 million users, is reportedly in talks with SiriusXM about a potential acquisition. Pandora said last Monday it has raised money to potentially explore a sale next month.
- Spotify, which has 100 million users, is reportedly planning a direct listing on the NYSE as early as this fall.
- IHeartRadio, which has over 100 million registered users for its streaming service, announced last month it expects bankruptcy this year.
What it means: The business changes at each organization may not be related, but they point to a growing trend of competitiveness driving instability in the music streaming market.
- Earlier this year, Jay-Z sold 1/3 of his streaming service, Tidal, to Sprint after facing major losses in 2015.
- Meanwhile, Pandora and iHeartRadio both launched subscription services to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, who are leading the market in subscribers.
- And like we're seeing with the cable industry, all the players are facing messy disputes over licensing fees with the content creators.