Media Chat: Sirius XM Buys Out Pandora

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Kara: Hey everyone! So this week’s slack chat is going to be about Sirius XM buying out Pandora, and the effects this buy out could have on the music industry. Let’s dig in! What do you think Sirius XM and Pandora will look like in business together?

I got to admit, I didn’t even think Pandora was worth 3.5 billion.

Meghan: That’s surprising to me too really, I wonder if they will merge into one or if Sirius will keep it the same and stay as separate services

Kara:  There was this article that talks exactly about that! It sounds like Sirius XM is planning to keep Pandora precisely the same, just using the profits from streaming to fund the dying satellite radio business.

Courtney: I wonder what it will look like from the money aspect, will I have to pay to listen to Pandora like I have to pay for Sirius?

Kara: It looks like in the above article Sirius plans to keep Pandora as a desperate entity, paid for by ads

Collin: I look at this merger like two separate sides of music

Courtney: Sirius XM is the paid radio side, Pandora the free music only side (including some quick ads here or there)

Collin: This, however, would allow Sirius to expand their customer base

Courtney: According to this article Sirius wants this merger to happen to expand their subscription base, which makes sense because I dong know too many people who actually pay for Sirius.

Collin: Sirius is something that comes with cars to me lol

Courtney: I know that when you buy a new car, Sirius usually gives about a year of a free trial. I loved having it when I had it, but now I just listen to Apple Music lol

Collin: Same about Apple Music. Is there even a way to use Sirius outside of your car?

Meghan: A lot of my family has Sirius, my I know much fiancé streams Pandora through his phone to his car since it’s free

Courtney: Apparently so, it looks like you can download an app. I know my mom listens to the specialized political radio while she’s at work, so you can at least listen to it off of a browser.

Honestly, I think it’s a smart move for Sirius. I hope that they find a way to compete with Apple Music and Spotify because most people I know don’t use Pandora or Sirius.

Collin: Maybe making Pandora a paid for services like Apple Music and Spotify?

Meghan: Hopefully they keep an option for free streaming. Still, it will increase their audience I think

Courtney: The only bummer is you can’t listen to a specific song with Pandora, I usually know exactly what I want to hear when I get into the car. Maybe it’s changed though I haven’t used Pandora since like junior high lol

Meghan: I think it’s probably still that way, I haven’t used it in forever. But I remember it always being a mix of songs they pick out of what you searched for

Courtney: I’ll be tempted to download it again after the merger is completed just to see what has changed.

Meghan: Looks like some of Sirius’s stock dropped after the merger, looks like Pandora’s went up though, check this article out.

Courtney: Oh crazy, I would have assumed they would both go up unless one of the companies is a sinking ship??

Meghan: Right!? I wonder if it’s because Pandora is less popular or offer free stuff before? Interesting

Courtney: If anything, it looks like Sirius is falling behind according to this article

How did Amazon music beat out Sirius, I didn’t even know that was a thing lol?

Collin: I feel like people our age don’t really listen to the radio. Maybe that’s just me though

Alexa used amazon music


Courtney: I agree, Apple Music and Spotify just really take the cake for people our age.

Meghan: I didn’t know Amazon was a thing either, or that Alexa used it.

Kara: I think if Sirius keeps an option for free streaming with just ads they might be good to compete with Apple and Spotify.

Collin: When my parents got their Alexa, they paid for Amazon music so they could ask Alexa to play whatever they wanted. It’s a decent sales pitch to build up a streaming service

Meghan: I bet that’s why Sirius is merging then, trying to regain some popularity

Kara: Side note Alexa is creepy as all get out. I mean that things got to be listening to ALL the time, to everything, right? That’s just weird

Meghan: It’s listening to everything

Kara: But back to this- how do you guys feel about the music industry moving to stream…… and only having a few solid competitors for that area of the market?

Collin: I turned my Alexa off. She kept suggesting things to buy on Amazon based on the tv show I was watching

Meghan: I think strea.ming is here to stay, makes everything easier. And I’m just waiting for more streaming services to come out. Kind of like how there are so many tv streaming services now a day other than Hulu and Netflix..

Courtney: I mean how are you supposed to listen to Carter V on repeat without a streaming service like Apple or Spotify? I’m too impatient to listen to songs at random when I want to hear the new stuff. I’m a fan of the streaming.

Kara: Hahaha!! True, true

But why not just buy that song to listen to it on repeat?

Meghan: Buy a song or just buy a streaming service to listen to whoever, whenever though?

Kara: I mean streaming has entirely changed how royalties and just, in general, the way musicians earn money

Courtney: Why buy a single song when I can .listen to the entire album and so much more at the tip of my fingers for a set price a month?

Kara: Yeah exactly! So like streaming has entirely changed the music industry and what it looks like

Collin: Streaming gets me to listen to more artists because I can afford it 

Courtney: And that student discount really helps up lol, throwback to when I used to pay 1.29 for each song on iTunes. Seriously, big fan of this set price each month.

Kara: We don’t buy music anymore, we stream it. It’s more economic for customers. But are musicians still making as much money?

More food for thought- who owns the majority of the streaming services?

Collin:  I think Spotify poses a major threat to Pandora. Spotify offers a free version of their service where you can still get to pick songs, but only on certain platforms. I’m not sure what Pandora has anymore, I don’t remember it allowing you to choose what to specifically listen to, you just made a radio channel for it and they picked the songs

Meghan:  According to this article about 70% of a streaming service’s total revenue is paid to creators, which according to Billboard is a “larger percentage than a typical record store, and in line with what iTunes pays on digital downloads”

Also, it says streaming services are making artists pump out more and more content to keep people interested and for them to stay relevant because now people are listening to a wider variety of artists

Kara: For sure. Spotify gives you the chance to pick and choose what songs you want in your channel.

Also, Meghan, that’s so cool that there’s more drive for artists to create. I’m not the biggest music junkie, but I know I open the Spotify app more than the Pandora app- and it’s neat to see how streaming is almost leveling and expanding the music field

This company did a global study on basically who owns what in the Music industry. It found that 3 major corporations- Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music hold about 62% of the global market

All in all, I think this merge falls into what we’re seeing in general with the music industry already, a heavy move towards streaming services. Hopefully this specific merge works out, as more competition always seems to be better. Thanks for chatting with me everyone!