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Pandora plays beta beats downunder

The box re-opens for mobile music wars

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After months of speculation and a dress rehearsal back in 2007, one of the original online music streamers, Pandora, has re-emerged in Australia.

Pandora was briefly available in Australia but in May 2007 the service was shut down due to draconian decentralised legal restrictions which meant that licencing was not available outside of the US and Canada.

As flagged by El Reg in March, Pandora was getting ready to return to Australia along with its latter day progeny such as Spotify and Rdio who have all set up camp.

Founder Tim Westergren issued a post stating: “You can’t imagine how delighted we are to be able to start streaming Pandora into Australia. Pandora is a new kind of radio that is personalized just for you. …This is a beta launch of Pandora in Australia. There's much more to do to enable the full breadth of Pandora's capabilities to Australia (including such things as a mobile app for smartphones), but we didn't want to wait any longer. So stay tuned.”

Back in its home turf of the U.S Pandora averages more than 50 million active users a month who generate more than 3.09 billion listening hours across Pandora's multiple platforms – desktop, auto, consumer electronics, and mobile devices.

During Q1 Pandora's market share was 5.95% of total U.S. radio listening and the platform boasts the majority of the top 50 digital advertisers already having bought multiplatform advertising.

Analysts suggest that it is Pandora’s advertising approach that will shake up the Australian market.

Pandora was a pioneer in the personalized radio station format and wrapping ads around it. The service promotes discoverability based on analysing listeners existing tastes via algorithms.

Pandora delivers music to users “anytime, anywhere” via internet streaming and increasingly to mobile devices and the automotive industry. In the U.S mobile is now the primary driver of listener hour growth and according to comScore, over 78% of Pandora’s monthly unique visitors listened from a mobile device.

A recent report from Morgan Stanley claims that dominant media players such as the Southern Cross Media (SXL) group, have the most to lose from new entrants such as Pandora

"We believe it’s only a matter of time before the internet has a negative impact on traditional radio listenership … and thereafter radio asset values in Australia too,” Morgan Stanley warns. ®

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