Perhaps no other digital music company this side of Apple has made the transition to the mobile sphere as seamlessly as Pandora, the Internet radio company that was fighting for its life as late as of this past summer before a royalty agreement stabilized its future. I chatted with CTO Tom Conrad this afternoon, and he shared a few stats that showed just how significant mobile uptake has been in the company’s growth — particularly in introducing the service to new users rather than converting desktop listeners to mobile ones.
Fully half of the company’s first-time users are now signing up via mobile devices, he told me, and since Pandora arrived on the iPhone in July 2008, 9 million people have created new accounts on smartphones, including iPhones, BlackBerrys, Palm and Android phones. That’s 24 percent of Pandora’s total user base, which is currently at 38 million and growing. Pandora has been installed on 13 million smartphones to date, meaning that about 70 percent of its smartphone users didn’t have desktop accounts previously.
Moreover, a quarter of the music streamed on Pandora currently goes to mobile listeners, and 25 percent of the songs bought by users clicking through to the iTunes or Amazon MP3 stores are acquired via mobile devices, suggesting a real movement toward mobile usage rather than just experimentation. New market research from Ando Media (PDF) suggests that Pandora is by several measures the most popular Internet radio provider in the U.S., even without the mobile listenership included. And while mobile ads don’t deliver as much revenue as desktop display ads do, Pandora’s extraordinarily popular mobile apps are surely familiarizing new users with its brand name — and driving them back to the desktop as well.