On September 23, Apple issued a press release announcing that more than 11 million unique users had already tuned into iTunes Radio. Yesterday during Apple's earnings conference call, Tim Cook said that that number had risen to 20 million unique users.
That's not too bad considering that Apple has barely been in the internet music-streaming business for even a month now. On top of that, Apple has an unparalleled advantage in that iTunes Radio is baked right into iOS 7, providing millions of new iOS users with a music-streaming experience right out of the box, no downloading required.
So should Pandora be worried?
Though Apple continues to rack up an impressive number of unique iTunes Radio listeners, a recent survey of 800 iOS users revealed that 92 percent of those who gave iTunes Radio a test drive either went back to Pandora or continue to use Pandora in conjunction with iTunes Radio.
AppleInsider relayed more details from the survey, which was conducted by Canaccord Genuity:
When asked to quantify the "overall experience" of both services, 66 percent of respondents call their experience with iTunes Radio "positive" or "very positive," while Pandora scores 78 percent on the same metric. Apple wins with tight margins on app usability questions, but loses out to Pandora in perhaps the most important metric, "Plays songs I want to hear," 63 percent to 72 percent.
It's still early in the game, so it remains to be seen if there's enough interest amongst music lovers for both iTunes Radio and Pandora to thrive.
One thing's for sure, though. Pandora has its eyes on Apple and isn't taking iTunes Radio lightly. During a recent interview, Pandora CEO Mike Herring conceded that Apple is a "credible threat," noting that the company's iTunes Radio initiative isn't motivated by a desire to create a "really awesome music experience."
On that note, Apple's Eddy Cue a few weeks ago talked about iTunes Radio and Apple's ostensible goals with its new music-based service.
The most important thing for me, what I was hoping for and what we've been working very hard to get, is what the quality of the feature is. At the end of the day, that's the most important.
Now regardless of whether or not you're an iTunes Radio, Pandora or Spotify fan, or even a fan of streaming music for that matter, I think everyone can agree that this is an exciting time to be a music fan.