Pandora has lost $1B in 4 years, now worth less than ever. Salvageable?

Music Business Worldwide:

When Pandora Media launched on the NYSE in June 2011, it started trading at $16 a share – with a $2.6bn valuation.

Optimism was rife for music’s big digital play on the stock market. The expectation was that the firm’s valuation, and global presence, would soar.

Today, over six years on, Pandora is worth less than a third of what it was that day, at under $5 per share.

And, according to MBW’s calculations, there’s even sorrier news for the firm’s new regime to contemplate: Pandora has now lost over a billion dollars in less than four years.

I hate the math, but it is the math. To me, Pandora hasn’t lost value as a music service. They still serve the same purpose, offer the same set of services. The loss is financial. But that’s what counts in this situation.

It gets worse: as recently as summer 2016, SiriusXM reportedly made a bid to acquire Pandora for $3.4bn, or $15 per share.

That’s more than three times what Pandora’s worth now.

The offer was rejected.


  • Janak Parekh

    Unfortunately, I don’t see a path to Pandora’s success. They took too long to build on their radio platform, and now most people I know are either on Apple Music, Google Play Music, or Spotify, all of whom continue improving their curated playlists.

    I count myself in that; I was a paying Pandora One subscriber years ago, but switched to Apple Music and haven’t looked back.

    Offering only the “same set of services” is in fact a loss of value, because they’re not the only one in town that offers those services anymore.

  • Brad Fortin

    I can’t wait for pundits and armchair analysts to spin this as devastating for Apple.

  • Caleb Hightower

    I still enjoy Pandora and pay for it annually because I think they provide a service that Apple has been unsuccessful doing, at least it is for me and how I like to listen to unfamiliar music. Haven’t used Google Play. Spotify killed it for me when they demanded access to my personal photos on my phone.

    Apple Music is great at impulsive, a la carte listening. They have yet to persuade me that their playlists, recommendations, curated mixes, and basic knowledge of music that’s not top 40 is worth my time. I’m often disappointed at what Apple Music offers to me and feel more of it is marketing than genuine analysis of my preferences and taste.

    I hope this does not spell the end to Pandora, but its a viciously competitive landscape and it does not “suffer fools gladly”.