The Pandora Satisfaction Study Update

Mar 18, 2016

Pandora Plagued by Weakened Time Spent Listening

Since 2006 Bridge Ratings has been tracking the growth in use of Pandora, the company that produces customized Internet radio stations.

In 2010 we published the first analysis of consumer use of the Pandora service over time and discovered that the longer the Pandora users in our study had been using the service, attrition in the number of times per day using the service and the amount of time spent during each occasion.

We updated this study again in 2-13 and 2014 and you can read more about that here.

The 2016 update of this study is now rolling out to our clients. The following are part of that update:

Through a self-reporting process, each year of the study our panel of over 3000 Pandora Prime users were asked how long they were using the service and if they were Highly Satisfied, Somewhat Satisfied or Not Satisfied with their Pandora listening experience.

Satisfaction Over Time

The following chart displays the results of analyzing the Satisfaction levels over time. It compares responses from January 2015 and January 2016.

How to read: Among Pandora's early Prime users (6 months or less with the service) 75% were highly satisfied in January 2015. 72% of that same group were satisfied in January 2016. The longer consumers use the service, satisfaction levels decrease.


In January 2015 75% of Pandora users who had been using the service for six months or less were highly satisfied with their listening experience.

In January of 2016 72% were highly satisfied.

As you can see, over time satisfaction levels decrease consistently.

Pandora Satisfaction levels were gauged in the following areas:

  • Music selection - does the music Pandora serves you meet or exceed your expectations?
  • Song and artist repetition
  • Sound quality
  • Song and artist variety
  • Song and artist quantity

Listening Occasions

Click on Image to enlarge.

When asked about their actual listening experiences with Pandora, the study examined the average number of times per day (occasions) by Pandora prime users. (Prime users are defined as Pandora listeners who rated Pandora as their primary source for Internet radio).

The following charts reflect Pandora usage covered in the 2014 study and the 2016 study.

Over time, the number of daily listening occasions is decreasing.


How to read: Over time, Pandora Primes are also spending less time per listening occasion.

This attrition of use over time is also evident in time-spent listening per session.


Across all sextiles time spent per occasion with Pandora is decreasing.

Interviews with our panel indicate the following are impacting time spent with Pandora:

  • Generally, high dissatisfaction levels with the Pandora service over time.
  • Pandora song repetition, lack of song and artist variety for the user's tastes.
  • Increasing time spent with alternative music streaming platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music.

Time Compression and the Consumer

Findings from this study and others conducted by Bridge Ratings over the past three years have uncovered a phenomenon of media time compression which is limiting consumption of all things related to media.

Video, audio and print communication made available through new digital devices has increasedmany-fold for media consumers. Attention spans have had to adjust to the availability of more media. We are finding that total time spent per week with all media has expanded resulting in some forms of media entertainment experiencing shorter time spent or fewer listening occasions.

Attention spans for preferred content are expanding at the expense of others.

Based on interviews with our panelists, Pandora is experiencing similar reductions in satisfaction as other media. With increasing competition and falling profits, the company has entered a new mature phase of its growth cycle.

Click on image to enlarge.

In order for it to sustain growth, Pandora is developing a product extension strategy with recent purchases of Ticketfly to provide concert ticketing options to its user base and Rdio, the former Spotify-like music streaming service which would provide Pandora a product extension of an on-demand streaming platform.

As these acquisitions and other growth strategies are integrated into the Pandora business, Bridge Ratings will continue to monitor the Internet radio space and will publish additional usage studies later this year.