While analysts and investors are beginning to see new life in
the perpetually imperiled Internet radio service, Pandora's
) competition continues to rise. What does this mean for the
future of the company? Earlier today, Albert Fried & Company
upgraded Pandora (NYSE:
Market Perform to Overweight
, reporting that the corporation "offers a great service and has
a strong revenue growth potential."
"Given the roughly 30% upside to our $13 Target," Albert Fried
analyst Rich Tullo wrote, "we think Pandora is a great company
and perhaps its shares are a good trade over the next 12 to 18
Tullo may be right about Pandora's near-term future. But what
can we expect from the radio service in the coming months?
Critics and music lovers alike have praised Spotify -- one of
Pandora's chief competitors -- for offering more options, more
artists, more songs, and greater flexibility than Pandora. Apple
) fans cheered when they heard that iTunes Match will offer full
music streaming this fall, allowing iOS 6 users to play their
favorite songs without having to actually download them. Earlier
this month, Microsoft (NASDAQ:
) announced that it will enter the music streaming market with
, a promising new service that has already acquired more than 30
These are just a few of Pandora's competitors, and new ones
seem to appear every month. For a brief time last year,
Turntable.fm became the next-big-thing in online music.
Grooveshark is often cited as a free and superior alternative to
virtually every music service out there. In just five days, the
new iPhone app from Songza (a social radio network that lets
users create their own stations) was downloaded by
more than 500,000 people
With so many competitors, how can Pandora ever keep up?
Truthfully, we could ask that question about
streaming music service. Downloadable music may belong to Apple
and iTunes, but streaming music is anyone's game.
Pandora has one advantage, however: time. The company has been
around for roughly 12 years and has acquired 100 million users.
Pandora continues to be the first website people think of when
searching for Internet radio. There may be better music services
out there, but many consumers are
slow to adapt
. This gives Pandora some time to improve its service, to improve
its share price, and to milk the millions of users it has already
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