iHeart Media & Entertainment

Niko Santore and Aria Sivick


iHeart MEDIA Inc logo

[1] iHeartMedia Incorporated logo

 Company Overview

iHeart Media Incorporated is an entertainment company who provides radio programming and live entertainment worldwide. Evolving from iHeart Communications Inc, the company now operates Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings and iHeartMedia, whose assets reach worldwide. The two divisions of iHeart Media Inc strive to support each other in advertising and entertainment, covering a record setting 150 markets and operating through 850 stations in the U.S., and supporting 245 million monthly listeners. Including iHeart Radio, the company hosts an impressive array of online and mobile services such as real time traffic services, live concerts and entertainment, and program syndication. The goal of the company is to design a more innovative and dynamic future that supports a strong digital footprint on a diverse, accessible mobile platform. [2]

[3] The iHeart Family

Key Executives


Bob Pittman

Bob Pittman – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer  [17]

Richard J Bressler

Richard J Bressler – President Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer [18]

Wendy Goldberg - Executive VP and Chief Communications Officer

Wendy Goldberg – Executive VP and Chief Communications Officer [18]

Robert H. Walls, Jr. Executive Vice President and General Counsel

Robert H. Walls, Jr. Executive Vice President and General Counsel [18]

Gayle Troberman Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

Gayle Troberman – Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer [18]

Scott Wells Chief Executive Officer, Clear Channel outdoor Americas

Scott Wells Chief Executive Officer, Clear Channel Outdoor Americas [18]

William Eccleshare - Chairman and CEO, Clear Channel International [18]

William Eccleshare –
Chairman and CEO, Clear Channel International [18]

John Sykes - President of Entertainment Enterprises [18]

John Sykes –
President of Entertainment Enterprises [18]


Steve Mills Global Chief Information Officer[18]

Business Module

Clear Channel Outdoor Logo

[4] Clear Channel Outdoor Logo

In the face of a growing digital age, in 2014, Clear Channel Communications renamed itself iHeart Media in an effort to face the competition of Pandora and Spotify. iHeart Media was and is their most successful digital brand, and in order to converge to the digital age (and scoop themselves out of the $20 billion debt left from their equity buyout in 2008) Clear Channel Communications decided that iHeart and its several platforms was the appropriate label for their brand.[5] iHeartMedia works with Clear Channel Outdoor in order to expand their digital footprint and advertise in the most accessible and relatable method to their consumers. The company is one of the world’s top advertising leaders; it operates in more than 40 countries spanning 5 continents. With over 640,000 displays, it reaches 45 out of 50 of the largest markets in the United States. [6]Clear Channel Outdoor’s market reach makes the company one of the most valuable subsidiaries to market, with an increasing operating income of 14.7% to $60.8 million in the third quarter of 2016. [7]

Current News

[8]A featured performance from last year’s Jingle Ball Tour

In time for the Holidays, iHeart Radio has announced it’s line up for the Jingle Ball Tour, sponsored by Capital One. The Jingle Ball Tour is on the company’s largest sources of annual income. Celebrities such as Bruno mars, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears will be performing. With tickets ranging from $50 to $160, the tour stops will be stopping cross country in big cities such as Dallas, New York, and San Francisco. The tour is integral to the iHeart Radio’s merit and diversity, as it is the number one leading free-all access online audio platform, reaching its 90 million listeners faster than any other digital company, including Facebook. Not only does the tour prove beneficial with exclusive deals for Capitol One customers, the tour also allows the company room for philanthropy networking. For the fourth consecutive year, iHeart Radio will partner with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation to provide an entertaining experience for hospitalized children. The Jingle Ball Tour this year will also prove integral to the subscriber and fanbase as iHeart Radio Plus and iHeart Radio All Access – two new subscription services will be released in January 2017. [9]

iHeart Radio All Access Promotional Logo

[10]Heart Radio All Access Promotional Logo

iHeart Radio All Access, to be released in January 2017, will mark the start of an on demand business module. The brand will now be a top competitor amongst other services such as Spotify, which allow you to listen to any song you’d like at any given time. iHeart Radio Plus will offer a unique enhanced experience to listeners. It is a different subscription service than iHeart Radio All Access, and will allow users to listen ad-supported content as well as give listeners access to other features that competitors such as Spotify do not offer. The company also stated that they are looking to bring music collection and music discovery into one entity, as 73% of consumers report their number one source of discovering music is from radio streaming. [11]

iHeart Radio is certainly the talk of the town of the company, racking in the most news (and profits) with the upcoming music festival and all-access radio streaming. The iHeart Radio app has recently hit 92 million users, according to CFO Richard Bressler. Digital listening only makes up 10% of the market, the other 90% falling under broadcast radio. This statistic, however, only leaves the market more open to the iHeart Radio and its 269 million monthly subscribers. [12]


iHeart Media’s third quarterly report of 2016 shows a revenue of $847 million (a 2% increase from 2015). Even though their revenue increased, their income before depreciation was close to 2015 at $326 million. Registered users for their streaming application increased by 35 percent (75 million total users), and usage of their application increased by 21 percent in quarter three [13]. iHeart Media’s flat income comes from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, “one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies, operating in some 30 countries across North America, South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific,” which saw an OIBDAN decrease of 13 percent for their international market [14]. iHeartRadio needs its new streaming services, iHeart Radio All Access and Plus to do well so that it does not fall too far behind Pandora and Spotify. iHeart’s users equate to 14.4 percent of Pandora’s and 23.3 percent of Spotify’s [16]. Even though iHeart is lagging behind Spotify and Pandora, their new take and improvement of radio with iHeart Radio All Access could close the gap between its competitors.



Google.com iHeart Media inc. stock overview [19]

(11/29/16)[15]                                                                                                                 Current Share Price (11/29/16) : $1.57

52 Week Range : $0.72 – $1.70

Average Volume : 10,910




[1] IHeartMedia Incorporated [IHeartMedia logo]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://mms.businesswire.com/media/20150408005285/en/437799/5/iHeartMedia-02.jpg?download=1

[2] “About Us.” About Us. IHeartMedia Inc., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[3]IHeart Company Family. Digital image. IHeartMedia. IHeartMedia Inc., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[4] Clear Communications Outdoor. Digital image. MediaVillage. MediaVillage, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[5]Sisario, Ben. “Clear Channel Renames Itself IHeartMedia in Nod to Digital.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

[6]“Investor Relations for Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (CCOH).” Clear Channel Outdoor Americas. Clear Channel Communications, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[7]Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. Reports, and Results For 2016 Third Quarter. “Clear Channel Outdoors Earnings Call Q3.” CLEAR CHANNEL OUTDOOR HOLDINGS, INC. REPORTS RESULTS FOR 2016 THIRD QUARTER (2016): n. pag. IHeartMedia Inc. Clear Channel Communications, 9 Nov. 2016. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[8]Zedd – I Want You To Know Ft. Selena Gomez (Live at the Z100 IHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2015). Perf. Selena Gomez and Zedd. YouTube. Selena Gomez Canada, 12 Dec. 2015. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[9]“IHeartMedia Rings in the Holiday Season with the Return of Its Iconic 2016 National “iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour Presented by Capital One”.” IHeartMedia Rings in the Holiday Season with the Return of Its Iconic 2016 National “iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour Presented by Capital One” | Business Wire. BusinessWire, 11 Oct. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

[10] IHeart Radio All Access Promo. Digital image. BetaNews. IHeartMedia Inc., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[11]McAlone, Nathan. “The Biggest Radio Powerhouse in the US Just Took Aim at Apple and Spotify with a New Service.” Business Insider. Business Insider, 23 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

[12]“IHeartRadio Hits 92 Million – Radio Ink.” Radio Ink. RadioInk.com, 10 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

[13] “IHeartMedia 2015 Third Quarter Results.” 1998.59 (1998): n. pag. IHeartMedia. IHeartMedia Inc., 5 Nov. 2016. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[14]“Outdoor Advertising.” Outdoor Advertising. IHeartMedia Inc., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[15]“IHRT Stock Quote – IHeartMedia Inc. Cl A Stock Price Today (IHRT:OTC) – MarketWatch.” MarketWatch. Marketwatch, 29 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

[16]“Triton Digital – Press Release – Triton Digital Releases August 2015 Top 20 Ranker.” Triton Digital. Triton Digitial, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[17] Bob Pittman. Digital image. AdvertisingHall. Advertising Hall, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[18] “Our Team.” Our Team. IHeartMedia Inc., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.

[19] “Iheartmedia+stock – Google Search.” Iheartmedia+stock – Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.



Conor Matthews

Comcast NBCUniversal logo featuring the iconic rainbow peackock

Since the invention of the radio, American families have gathered around the heath of the house daily, clamoring around an electric conduit of entertainment. History has developed the American hearth in time, from radio to television and film, and now, to the Internet. Since its inception, the American hearth’s form has changed, but one constant has remained—NBC. If the social, emotional, and cultural importance of Television, Radio, and Film are likened to a literal and metaphorical hearth, then NBCUniversal is the fortress in which this hearth was built.

The Construction of America’s TV Fortress

In 1926 David Sarnoff founded the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), making it America’s first permanent radio network. [1] NBC ruled the Golden Era of Radio in the 1930s, and Sarnoff was busy developing television for NBC.

Americans gather around the “American hearth” to watch TV

In 1939 at the World’s Far, Sarnoff presented regular television service on behalf of NBC. Meanwhile, Universal—founded by Carl Laemmle in 1912—was producing huge blockbusters that garnered Academy Awards. The two media companies would hold America’s attention independent of each other until their merger in 2004, at the hands of their parents General Electric and Vivendi.

The Acquisition of America’s TV Fortress

Comcast, however, bought the entire NBCUniversal assets from GE and Vivendi in March 2013. The merge augmented Comcast’s power to produce, and distribute media, a move critiqued by Susan Crawford as being too monopolistic. “‘Comcast [is] in a prime position to be the unchallenged provider of everything — all data, all information, all entertainment — flowing over the wires in its market areas’”.[2] Despite naysayers, the merge proved fruitful as NBC emerged as No. 1 in adults 18-49 for the Primetime Season 2013-14 year; the first time in over 10 years that NBC earned this superlative.[3]

The list of assets owned by NBCUniversal, and through extension Comcast, is expansive. NBC Cable boasts the names of well-known cable networks like Bravo, E!, USA, and Syfy; while NBCU has four broadcast assets—NBC, NBC News, NBC Sports, and Telemundu.

The Optimization of America’s TV Fortress

            NBCU’s unwavering dominance in the TV industry has allowed the company to look inward at the current way their business operates, specifically their relationship to advertisers. No matter the client or project, however, NBCU remains focused on retaining the bold, and effective brand their audience knows well.

On February 24, 2016, NBCU announced a reworking of NBCUx, a development that allows programmatic buys for advertising clients on the company’s linear TV networks. NBCUx uses NBCU’s Advanced Targeting Platform to pinpoint correlations between the ad’s audience and the clients’ consumers.[4] NBCUx aids clients in understanding which ad slots are most cost efficient and worthwhile. Prior to the 2016 announcement of NBCUx, NBCUx was first used by a few select clients on NBCU’s digital platforms after the company’s 2015 Upfront. Since then, the success of NBCUx has been noted by Mike Farrell of Multichannel, who writes, “With ATP, NBCU has demonstrated that ads have a higher reach, and are more efficient as they are run across the entire portfolio”.[5] Khrishan Bhatia, EVP of Business Operations and Strategy, noted that last year NBCU’s digital growth was comprised of 40% video.[6] In turn, 40% of that 40% came from programmatic sources.

The 2016 expansion of NBCUx enables clients looking to buy ads on TV to forgo the traditional Nielsen model, which uses demographics ratings. NBCUx is pioneering programmatic buys in the TV world. Bhatia told reporters, “It’s the industry’s first national programmatic TV offering at scale”. NBCUx will be NBCU’s main talking point at their May 17, 2016 Upfront in New York City.[7]

NBCUx is working hard to pinpoint valuable customers and audiences of TV, something metadata and cookie mining is already helping many online platforms do. The advertisements on online platforms, however, lack what the television advertisements do possess —ads that make people want to get up and buy a product. On the subject of advertisements, Jim Bankoff, charmain and CEO of Vox Media details, “‘awareness creation, identity creation, brand building [are] the kind of things that television and magazines have been good at, creating that experience and telling marketers’ stories’”.[8] Understanding this dichotomy, NBCU is utilizing its 2015 $200million investment in the digital publisher, Vox Media, to reinvigorate the online ad-viewing experience.[9] The synthesis of this partnership is an inventory tool called Concert.

Concert guarantees brands advertisements that are mutually beneficial for both parties, utilizing “data targeting and a large, fraud-free audience that results in performance that’s 12 times what the average banner ad delivers”. Bankoff elaborates, “…now marketers who are looking to build brand can take advantage of the capabilities but can have beautiful advertising that performs well for them that doesn’t irritate—and actually delights—the audience…”.[10] Between all of NBCU and Vox Media’s online properties, Concert will have an audience of over 170 million people, with a majority of that audience being an extremely valuable demographic—Millennials.


Bobby Moynihan of ‘Saturday Night Life’ stars in a Fiat commercial [11]

Continuing to optimize their relationship with advertisements, The NBCU Content Studio was created with brands in mind. Specifically, NBCU will utilize the celebrity brands they have, like Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Bobby Moynihan of Saturday Night Live to create content for companies looking to promote their own brand.[11] The NBCU Content Studio enables companies to fulfill the growing need to publish their own branded video content across multiple platforms like, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, and their own website. The clients will be able to utilize NBCU’s “creative talent, data, distribution and scale (including its partners BuzzFeed, Vox and AOL)”, while putting a representative of NBCU Television in front of the audience. The NBCU Content Studio is an example of NBCU’s understanding of the cogent convergence of brand and media.

The Future of America’s TV Fortress

        Looking at the future of NBCUniversal indicates the same strong emphasis on online platforms as the company is doing currently. Specifically, in April 2016, NBCU and Amazon reached an agreement for the latter to carry SeeSo as part of their Amazon Prime bundle.[12] SeeSo is a comedy-only streaming service which features NBC sitcoms and other syndicated comedy programs. SeeSo’s potential success, or lack thereof, will help inform potential future endeavors of the company into OTP streaming services.

NBCUniversal’s May 17 upfront will be a critical moment to test the work the company has done on NBCUx, Concert, and The NBCU Content Studio. By buying into NBCU’s Upfront, clients will validate or invalidate NBCU’s efforts to optimize the workings of their company and brand. Furthermore, this coming year will serve as a test-run for the three projects. While some clients will leave NBCU’s Upfront with three more tools at their dispense, the work will continue after this year. NBCU’s relentless position at the top of the media industry inspires to make what works, really work.


[1] “Credo & History.” NBCUniversal Careers. NBCUniversal, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

[2] Gustin, Sam. “Comcast’s NBCUniversal Deal: As One Media Era Ends, Another
Begins.” TIME. N.p., 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

[3]”NBC Finishes No. 1 In 18-49 Demo For 2013-14 Primetime Season.” The Deadline.
N.p., 14 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. <http://deadline.com/2014/09/

[4] LaFayette, Jon.”New Currencies Used in NBCU Ad Data Deals.” Broadcasting & Cable. N.p., 14 Apr. 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016. <http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/

[5] Farrell, Mike. “#AdvancedAd 2016: Programmatic Expands Choice.” Multichannel
News. N.p., 5 Apr. 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

[6] Lynch, Jason. “NBCUniversal Will Start Selling TV Advertising Programmatically This
Fall.” AdWeek. N.p., 24 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Apr. 2016.

[7] Andreeva, Nellie. “NBCUniversal Folds All Cable Networks Into NBC Upfront
Presentation.” The Deadline. N.p., 30 Mar. 2016. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.

[8] Lynch, Jason. “NBCUniversal and Vox Team Up to Sell Cross-Platform, Premium
Digital Advertising.” AdWeek. N.p., 4 Apr. 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

[9] Baysinger, Tim. “Why NBCU Invested $200 Million in Vox.” AdWeek. N.p., 13 Aug.
2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2016. <http://www.adweek.com/news/television/

[10]Lafayette, Jon. “NBCU, Vox Harmonize in Digital Ad ‘Concert’.”
Broadcasting & Cable. N.p., 4 Apr. 2016. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.

[11] Lynch, Jason. “NBCU’s New Studio Is Creating Branded Content for Viewers Beyond Its Own Platforms.” AdWeek. N.p., 20 Mar. 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

[12] Would, Kristofer. “NBCUniversal’s comedy streaming service to allow
subscriptions via Amazon Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/movies/
nbcu-seeso-amazon-subscription/#ixzz46relKHHk Follow us: @digitaltrends on
Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook.” Digital Trends. N.p., 20 Apr.
2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016. <http://www.digitaltrends.com/movies/



Pandora Radio

by Ally Thibault


Music has always been a uniting force across the entirety of the human race. It brings people together, projects ideas and opinions across generations, and encapsulates emotions that simply cannot be preserved otherwise. It is a timeless source of comfort and entertainment. While traditional radio has always been a reliable outlet to access music, citizens of the digital age tend to crave more than just what is given to them. People want to hear the music they like.  Seeing this trend in listener niche preferences, Pandora Radio founder Tim Westergren channeled his passion and knowledge of music and created one of the most successful personalized online radio platforms to date.

Pandora Radio is an online radio station and application that allows users to search songs, artists, and albums and creates customized stations featuring music similar to the choice of the user. The creative and analytical muscle behind Pandora comes from the Music Genome Project [3], which is known as “the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken”. The project has collected hundreds of details about virtually every song ever recorded, which allows Pandora to sort songs into all kinds of diverse categories. The main purpose of Pandora is not only to provide a steady stream of music to listeners, but also to introduce them to new and current music akin to their already established tastes. Their overall aims are summed up most succinctly in their mission statement: “To play only music you’ll love”. [1]


Pandora Media, Inc. was originally founded in January 2000 in Oakland, California, where it is now headquartered. Founder Tim Westergren developed the Music Genome Project with the intention of creating playlists tailored to the interests of music listeners. He initially considered licensing the music recommendation service to other major companies, but this proved to flop in terms of generated profit, receiving only a $20,000 fee from Barnes & Noble.com for further development. After pitching the idea to countless venture capitalists, he finally settled on the idea of an internet radio website powered by the genome. In the early years following its launch in 2005, Pandora encountered multiple close brushes with bankruptcy as the company experimented with different business models and faced steep increases in music royalty fees.  It started quite modestly, used initially by friends and family of Westergren and his colleagues. Since then Pandora has caught fire — in January of 2012, Pandora surpassed the milestone of 125 million registered users.  [2]

USA - Business - Media[10]

Now commandeered by CEO Brian McAndrews, Pandora’s business model has improved in sustainability: centered around generating revenue primarily through online advertisements and, on a lesser scale, subscription fees, and paying royalties to the artists whose music it features. Their third quarter earnings results yielded an increase of $0.07 per share with an overall quarterly revenue of $180 million (positive surprise of +1.02%), with analysts predicting a continued increase on both fronts into the fourth quarter. [4] Over the course of the months following March of 2014, Pandora’s market share increased from 9.11% to 9.13%. In addition, their listener hours have grown 28% year over year in May 2014. Overall, Pandora’s profitability has improved despite royalty price hikes as they have fine-tuned their ad-targeting strategies. [5]

As the online radio industry has seen a surge in popularity over the past couple of years, many competing companies like Spotify have entered the market space to take a gander at the boundless range of music-loving consumers. As a result, Pandora has been pressed into making creative changes and additions to their market appeal strategy in order to distinguish themselves from their competition. The ability to provide their customers with something different and enticing is crucial in maintaining their relevance in the internet radio sphere. With this is mind, Pandora initiated a series of live concerts available for free exclusively for their listeners this past September. They partnered with Lexus to sponsor the pop-up concerts, which took place in Southern California. The performing artists included popular, current acts like MAGIC!, Kongos, and Nico & Vinz. The strategy of distributing the invitations to the concerts was intended to reward Pandora listeners for their loyalty. Pandora determined which users had created unique stations specifically for the artists who would be performing and extended invitations to those who showed a particularly strong interest in the musicians. This allowed Pandora listeners to truly connect with the artists they love, based on how they interacted with them through the online radio platform. Tommy Page, Head of Music Partnerships at Pandora, explained that the concert series demonstrated their “ability to leverage [their] data to create personalized experiences with the fans, as well as…the inroads [they’ve] made with the music industry”. This live concert experience option was unique to Pandora listeners and part of the initiative to differentiate them from their competitors. [6]

Pandora’s “thumbs up” button also brought artists to life for listeners in other ways. On September 5th, a few lucky listeners who clicked the button during a song by classically trained violinist Lindsey Stirling were suddenly prompted by an invitation to video chat with the artist herself.  If they accepted, they were treated to a private conversation and performance from Ms. Stirling from her studio in LA. Since then, Pandora’s #ThumbMoments campaign has brought musicians to life for many of their listeners. These “thumb gifts” will continue to reward listeners for choosing Pandora by granting them access to totally unique experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. Pandora’s Chief Marketing Officer Simon Fleming-Wood explained that the experience aims to hyperbolize that feeling you get when the “perfect song” comes on your Pandora station, and the result is truly emotional. [7]

This fall, Pandora has made great strides in branching out to bring artists closer to listeners. They have begun to focus more of their marketing muscle towards interactive experiences with the music they feature in an attempt to set themselves apart from their competition. Pandora continues to evolve as the industry changes and is certainly a company to keep an eye on in the months to come.



[1] About Pandora Media. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2014, from http://www.pandora.com/about

[2] Clifford, S. (2007, October 1). Pandora’s Long Strange Trip. Retrieved November 29, 2014, from http://www.inc.com/magazine/20071001/pandoras-long-strange-trip_pagen_2.html

[3] Pegoraro, R. (2014, May 24). Pandora’s “Music Genome Project” explores the cold hard facts of how we interact with music. Retrieved November 29, 2014, from http://boingboing.net/2014/05/24/pandoras-music-genome-proj.html

[4] Earnings & Estimates Summary – PANDORA MEDIA INC (P). (2014, November 28). Retrieved November 29, 2014, from http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/earnings/earnings.asp?ticker=P

[5] Team, T. (2014, July 22). Pandora Earnings Preview: Growing Market Share and Improving Monetization in Focus. Retrieved November 29, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2014/07/22/pandora-earnings-preview-growing-market-share-and-improving-monetization-in-focus/

[6] Castillo, M. (2014, September 17). How Pandora Mined Data to Create Lexus-Backed Concert Series. Retrieved November 29, 2014, from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/pandora-mines-data-create-lexus-backed-concert-series-160177

[7] Newman, A. (2014, September 21). A Thumbs-Up Brings Favorite Artists to Life For Pandora Listeners. Retrieved November 29, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/business/media/a-thumbs-up-brings-musicians-to-life-for-pandora-listeners-.html?_r=0

8] Pandora Radio Logo Banner. Digital image. SoulBridging. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://soulbridging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/pandora-banner.jpg>.

9] Sprague, Jonathan. Tim Westergren. Digital image. My Ford Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.myfordmag.com/faces/tim-westergren-sync>.

10] McDermid, Brendan. Brian McAndrews. Digital image. Reuters. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20130911&t=2&i=793057292&w=580&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=CBRE98A1PNM00>.


By Hannah D Friedland

[1] Spotify’s Logo


[6] The most updated visuals of the Spotify application on thee platforms

[2] The most updated visuals of the Spotify application on thee platforms. Users have an on-demand stream of music on their computer, mobile device, tablet, and home entertainment system.

Spotify is a music streaming service that puts users in control of 20 million licensed songs [3]. Spotify was launched in Sweden in 2008 and came to America in 2011.

Spotify is financially a private company that offers over 20,000 new songs each day from major and independent labels including EMI, Warner Music Group, Universal, & The Orchard [3]. Artists earn royalty when their music is played, and there are over 24 million active users currently in 55 markets [3].

There are two revenue streams, free, which is “powered by advertisers” and premium for $9.99 monthly with extra features including no ads, offline, and high-quality audio [3].


[2] Spotify Founders- Daniel Ek & Martin Lorentzon

[4] Spotify Founders- Daniel Ek & Martin Lorentzon

Chief Sales, Marketing, and International Growth Officer- Jeff Levick

[5] Chief Sales, Marketing, and International Growth Officer- Jeff Levick


[5] Chief Content Officer & Managing Director USA- Ken Parks

[6] Chief Content Officer & Managing Director USA- Ken Parks

[7] Head of Content- Steve Savoca

[7] Head of Content- Steve Savoca











Social Media Merges with Music- Songs, playlists, and albums can be shared on the Spotify application through the "Send To" message option, or users can "post to feed"  to their Facebook timeline, Twitter, and Tumblr within the Spotify application. ARROW

Social Media Merges with Music- Using the “send to”, or “post to feed” options users can message music to friends and post music to their Facebook timeline, Twitter, and Tumblr within the Spotify application. Source:  Spotify


Spotify gives its users the option to connect with their social media Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts. Users can create collaborative playlists, share music, view friends music and more which provides for ample music discovery and publicity for the company on social media platforms. There is also a private session users can activate.



Two other elements that Spotify includes are apps and Discover. While these apps add dimension to the Spotify journey, Discover is essentially a constantly updated news feed.

Discover- Spotify's "news feed" feature on the desktop application, artists are recommended, concerts nearby are posted, friends listening habits are shown all based on listening habits the user has shown. Source: Spotify

Discover- Spotify’s “news feed” feature on the desktop application. Updates with releases, playlists, artists recommendations, concerts nearby are posted, friends listening habits are shown all based on listening habits the user has shown. Source:  Spotify


Spotify is a strong contender, but it’s competing neck and neck with Rdio, Pandora, Rhapsody, Google Play Music, and Beats on price, catalogue, platforms, and features [8]. Beats Music entered the competitive on-demand music market in January [9], and is Spotify’s biggest challenger.

Beats vs. Spotify

[10] Beats Music vs. Spotify- The two streaming services are extremely similar with the same catalogue size, the discovery element, and price.

Beats entry in the market put Spotify in “go-mode”.


Competitor streaming services are continually emerging. With more choices presented to consumers, Spotify has responded by shifting their focus to partnerships, acquisitions, customer satisfaction, and updated product development. The formula is to attract users to Spotify, engage with users, and retain them.



Last.fm is a music recommendation service. In January, Spotify and Last.fm teamed up to bring a beneficial on-demand playbar to Last.fm’s website. This makes it possible for Last.fm users to internally play the entire Spotify catalogue on Last.fm’s website [11].

The collaboration works in both companies favor. Last.fm users have a fuller experience with the power, “to play whatever you want by whoever you want directly on Last.fm” [12]. In addition, Spotify’s catalogue incorporation provides a huge presence and Last.fm users conveniently have motivation to signup for Spotify to take advantage of the essential music player.

The Last.Fm playbar

The Last.Fm Spotify playbar at the bottom of Last.Fm’s website. Source:  Lastfm.com


Spotify also joined forces with SoundHound for the “Add to spotify” feature on its iOS application in February. SoundHound is a popular music-recognition app, similar to Shazam. Banded together, SoundHound is now more interactive. After linking accounts, with the tap of a button users can automatically generate Spotify playlists of recognized songs without leaving SoundHound’s app [13]. 

Source:  SoundHound & Spotify

Hitting the “Add to Spotify” button automatically turns songs discovered on SoundHound into a Spotify playlist. Source:  SoundHound & Spotify

The mutually-beneficial relationship brings life to identified songs through Spotify playlists on SoundHoud, and the incentive to use the button will drive users to subscribe to Spotify while giving them presence on a music app [14].


On top of that, Spotify was presented with an amazing opportunity to have presence on site at Coachella as the Official Digital Music Partner of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in California in April. The Spotify Social tent was an on-site air-conditioned tent that offered relaxation pods, chargers, a “Mosaic Photo Booth” that uses your Spotify account to generate a picture out of your most played album art, and art from artist Apex [15].


[16] The Spotify Social tent, that capped at 150, gave people an air conditioning experience filled with music, more battery power, art,  and a Mosaic Photobooth that puts your face on album covers based on your Spotify listening habits.

#WeWereThere was Spotify’s digital interactive strategy at Coachella to “connect, collect, share.” Implanted in every RFID wristband was the power to capture the experience by checking in and collecting custom Spotify curated playlists. The “My Coachella Story” digital snapshot let individuals create memories of their festival concert experiences with playlists gathered [16]. This collaboration not only transformed Coachella goers into premium users, but also created a special experience and built relationships by reliving the festival on Spotify.

[15] “My Coachella Story”- an example of a digital snapshot that shoes distance traveled, the path taken, playlists, artists seen etc. To participate users needed to simply connect their wrist band with their Spotify accounts, look for check ins at the festival, use the wristband to collect playlists and then after generate their digital card and share it with family and friends.


Lastly, Beats launched with an AT&T package family plan deal. Rumors are circulating about Spotify planning to bundle with the #3 U.S. mobile carrier, Sprint [17] in April. This partnership will give Sprint customers a free trial. Customers will be able to pay for Spotify directly through their Sprint Accounts, which will help Spotify secure a greater market share and Sprint secure more data plans. Sprint and Spotify will announce the details on April 29th at a New York Event [18].


In efforts to boost the “discovery” element, Spotify acquired The Echo Nest in March [19]. The Echo Nest is a music intelligence company that examines listening behavior and makes musical recommendations. Spotify paid $100 Million, with 90% Spotify equity [20]. The Echo Nest previously powered Rdio and Rhapsody, both of which ended their deals, deeming its technology invaluable to their operations right after Spotify acquired [21]. This potentially puts Spotify in the position to take The Echo Nest away from competitors.

Combing the two companies gives The Echo Nest a bigger audience and catalog, while Spotify, now with music-discovery data, will improve recommendation’s.

Customer Satisfaction

With intentions to obtain more paying users Spotify has updated its business model. In January the company announced free music shuffling on iOS with a catch, non-premium users ads play in between every few tracks [22]. In February, Spotify added the “repeat one” feature [23]. Repeat one grants users the option to repeat a single track over and over [24]. These highly requested changes illustrate that Spotify cares about users.

Working with a college students budget, Spotify slashed the premium $9.99 monthly rate to $4.99 in March [25]. They partnered with SheerID to validate eligibility. This price change is valuable because college students represent an important key demographic in streaming use [26]. This differentiates Spotify from other streaming services like Rdio and Beats that charge $10 monthly.

Unique Product Development

Competition among streaming services leads Spotify to completely redesign its user interface layout on all platforms. Spotify rolled out a sleek modernized look on April 2nd. This major design update was the first since its launch in 2008, and to keep current it was a smart move [27].

Spotify’s New Look Video [28] 

The new dramatic, dark color scheme highlights important buttons, includes circular images for people, and features square album shapes [29]. The browse tab is revised and categorized between top lists, releases, news, and moods. “Your Music”, a collection of users saved albums, songs, and artists is a new addition [30]. The Your Music addition mimics iTunes library and it is comparable to Rdio’s “collection” feature. It helps users save, organize, and browse through their favorite music. The new layout feels unified and balanced, and should attract new users [31].


Spotify is headed in the right direction, but with downloads declining, new rival services like YouTube, Apple, and Amazon that have huge user bases are joining the streaming market [32].

Being active puts Spotify in the forefront, which looks great for Investors. It is rumored that an IPO is in Spotify’s near future. Though the company has declined all comments, a job advertisement for an “External Reporting Specialist” has been posted on their website and LinkedIn [33]. Their future looks competitive but successful.


1. Spotify’s Logo 2014, Spotifypress.com, RT: 4/04/2014

2. Spotify’s Application on Three Platforms, Spotifyblog.com, RT: 4/01/2014

3. Spotify Press Fast FactsPress.Spotify.com,  RT: 4/01/2014

4.The Founders of SpotifyPress.Spotify.com, RT: 4/01/2014

5.Spotify’s Chief Sales, Marketing, and International Growth OfficerPress.Spotify.com, RT: 4/01/2014

6. Chief Content Officer & Managing Director USA,Press.Spotify.com, RT: 4/01/2014

7. Head of ContentPress.Spotify.com, RT: 4/01/2014

8. “And The Winner Is… Best Music On-Demand Streaming Service”Cultofmac.com, 2/18/2014, RT: 4/07/2014

9. “Beats Music Is Here”, Beats Music Blog 1/16/2014, RT: 4/08/2014

10. “Beats Music vs. Spotify: Can Dr. Dre outmix the king of streaming”, Digital Trends, 1/27/2014, RT: 4/07/2014

11. “Last.fm Bands up with Spotify to offer on-demand tracks”, CNET, 1/29/2014, RT: 4/04/2014

12. “Did Someone Say On Demand?”Last.fm Blog, 1/29/2014, RT: 4/04/2014

13. “SoundHound Launched “Add to Spotify”, Business Wire, 2/21/2014, RT: 4/07/2014

14. “SoundHound Now Lets You Easily Add Your Discovered Music to Your Spotify Playlist”appdevice.com, 2/24/2014, RT: 4/07/2014

15. “Coachella here we come” Spotify News, 4/7/2014 RT: 4/14/2014

16. “Spotify’s Coachella #WeWereThere Campaign: High Tech and Sweet, Sweet Air Conditioning”Billboard, 4/11/2014, RT: 4/14/2014

17. “Sprint and Spotify Plan to Partner Up”, recode.net, 4/11/2014, RT: 4/14/2014

18. “Spotify, Sprint Plan Music Bundle To Be Unveiled This Month”, Billboard, 4/12/2014, RT: 4/14/2014

19.“Spotify Acquires the Echo Nest”, Billboard, 3/06/2014, RT: 4/02/2014

20. “Spotify Acquired Music Tech Company The Echo Nest in A $100M Deal” , TechCrunch, 3/07/2014, RT: 4/07/2014

21. “Rhapsody Kills its Echo Nest partnership following Spotify acquisition”, Venturebeat.com, 3/21/2014, RT: 4/09/2014

22. “Spotify’s free shuffle mode arrives on iPhone”, The Verge,1/08/2014, RT: 4/02/2014

23. “Repeat One”, Spotify News Blog, 2/07/2014, RT: 4/08/2014

24. “Spotify users can now repeat the same song over and over and over again”, Hypbot, 2/10/2014, : 4/02/2014

25. “Spotify Offers 50% Student Discount”, Hypbot, 3/25/2014, RT: 4/02/2014

26. “Spotify introduces 50% discount for college students”, Los Angles Times, 3/25/2014, RT: 4/07/2014

27. “The Good, The Bad, The Less Ugly: Taking Spotify’s New Redesign For a Test Drive”, Billboard, 4/03/2014, RT: 4/04/2014

28. Spotify Paints It Black with New Look, YouTube, 4/01/2014, RT: 4/06/2014

29. “Spotify’s biggest redesign ever brings long awaited Collection view”, The Verge, 4/02/2014, RT: 4/07/2014

30. “Spotify paints it black with new look”, Spotify News, 4/02/2014, RT: 4/08/2014

31. “Spotify beautifies”, CNET, 4/02/2014 RT: 4/08/2014

32. “Spotify faces challenge from Internet giants before IPO” New York Post, 3/30/2014, RT: 4/14/2014

33. “Spotify seeks to hire U.S. filings expert as bankers eye IPO” Reuters, 2/17/2014, RT: 4/14/2014