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Pandora keeps getting bigger in Atlanta among 18 to 34 year olds


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Pandora Internet Radio doubled its younger listeners in Atlanta over the past year, according to data compiled by Edison Research on behalf of the company.

In any given 15-minute period, the data suggests,, one percent of 18 to 34 year olds were using Pandora from 6 a.m. to midnight. That’s up from 0.5 percent in January, 2011.

This aggregate 1.0 rating suggests a comparable total audience in that demographic to that of V-103, Atlanta’s No. 1 station.

But is this a fair comparison?

Arbitron, which measures traditional AM/FM radio listening (along with individual station online listening), said this is not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison. Pandora’s information is effectively self reported. Arbitron is an outside firm that is not owned or operated by any radio company.

In a paper Arbitron released last year, it also questions the self-reported demographic data compiled by Internet radio companies as well as the reliability of the data itself.while touting its own people meter methodology as more accurate.

Still, Pandora is the most popular on-line source for music listening that is somewhat like radio, according to another study by Triton Digital. (Pandora will create a “radio station” just for you based on one song or artist, and you can refine the playlist as you go along. And while you can skip a certain number of songs per hour, you cannot request specific songs. )

Pandora is well ahead of “I Heart Radio,” a compilation of hundreds of Clear Channel Radio stations including local ones such as WGST-AM, 94.9/The Bull and Project 9-6-1. It also includes a Pandora-like custom station option, which is free at least until April.

Another measure: 23.2 percent of 18 to 34 year olds in Atlanta gave Pandora at least five minutes of its time in a given week, the Edison survey said. That’s up from 13.4 percent a year earlier. Of the 11 markets measured, San Francisco had the highest “cume” of 27.8 percent.

You can read Pandora’s press release here.


Jon Sinton, an Atlanta radio consultant who helped start Air America nearly a decade ago, read this item and told me his thoughts:

I’ve worked with Edison through the years and they are top drawer researchers. I think it is unfair to characterize their Pandora numbers “self-reported.” They represent an important intermediary between the company and listeners, and in my judgment, would not release numbers they didn’t generate independently.

Finally, I don’t blame Arbitron for trying to muddy the waters, but Internet radio metrics are empirically sound measures of session starts and length. It remains true, however, that the smartest passive ratings technology isn’t inside the user’s head, therefore neither Arbitron nor any of its online competitors can tell us more than whether the radio/computer/mobile device was on, and what it was tuned to, not if anyone was paying any attention to it!

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

24 comments Add your comment

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January 24th, 2012
1:46 pm

I totally enjoy Pandora and I am well North of their 18-34 demographic.

Jack McFarland

January 24th, 2012
1:49 pm

That is a no-brainer. Look at Rodney’s list of the top songs in Atlanta. People are tired of the constant spins of the same songs. Variety is needed on the radio.

Hopefully this is a wake-up call for the radio stations. But knowing them, they will probably try to buy Pandora so listeners can be subjected to their drivel.


January 24th, 2012
3:08 pm

I enjoy Pandora too, Marshall. And I’m almost as old as 18+34.

Flatty Scruggs

January 24th, 2012
5:09 pm


Outside of the Internet and Satellite, Where can I listen to Bluegrass music on the radio here in the Atlanta area?


Rodney Ho

January 24th, 2012
5:13 pm WRFG 89.3 has some evening bluegrass programming.


January 24th, 2012
5:29 pm

I sincerely hope Pandora will put radio out of its misery. Radio is so obsolete. Who wants to hear the same stupid songs over and over till you puke, plus all their stupid obnoxious morning shows with their grossly overpaid staff.


January 24th, 2012
6:27 pm

Last I checked, Pandora partnered with Ando Media to measure streaming numbers….so, that’s not really “self reported” as Arbitron claims. Sorry, sounds to me like Arbitron is attempting to maintain terrestrial radio’s relevance by suggesting that internet radio lacks a reliable method to prove it’s popularity.

I don’t think OTA radio should die, but it seems it needs to reinvent itself or something…radio is becoming less for the listeners and more for the advertisers….not that I didn’t already know that they’re more concerned about sales numbers than making listeners happy…


January 24th, 2012
6:41 pm

When it comes to Radio, as with Pandora and Facebook etc, we are the product not the customer. We’re like cattle complaining about the barn. For me, the more choices there are, the better chance of me finding a barn that I like.



January 24th, 2012
6:54 pm

Spotify kicks Pansora’s ass. Check it out on line.

squirrelly mc cheesy grill pon pon pon

January 24th, 2012
7:52 pm

Loves me Pandora but older than this age range. Radio can certainly suck for many reasons but the obvious ones are DJ’s , wtf with DJ’s, you are not funny DJ moron and you play what the computer back at home base Radio CORP tells you to. You suck. The other thing that radio is poor at is playing supertramp every hour on the hour, the same song. We get it Radio CORP, you are lazy. Well I have a IPOD and I have Pandora so take that Radio Morons. Hey Rodney did you get a second TV yet?


January 25th, 2012
1:16 am

Dixiecrat is right: As much as I once loved it, I haven’t listened to Pandora since I went Spotify Premium…nor have I felt the need to download any music.


January 25th, 2012
7:10 am

“Arbitron nor any of its online competitors can tell us more than whether the radio/computer/mobile device was on, and what it was tuned to, not if anyone was paying any attention to it!” – Jon Sinton

Really??? The same can be said for radio stations; many of which are played in offices and work shops simply as background noise.


January 25th, 2012
8:08 am

Spotify FTW!


January 25th, 2012
10:25 am

Put me down as a Spotify fan, too! I use it every day.
I have not listened to Pandora in a couple of years. And I have asked a lot of people in the last few months if they use Pandora……I have found very few who do. The ones who do are under 18.
It is hard for me to believe that they have the numbers published.

Jon Sinton

January 25th, 2012
12:03 pm

Highlander–you missed two crucial words in quoting me: “Neither” and radio: “NEITHER Arbitron nor any of its online competitors can tell us more than whether the RADIO/computer/mobile device was on, and what it was tuned to, not if anyone was paying any attention to it!”

Curious Alice

January 25th, 2012
12:05 pm

Doesn’t SPOTIFY cost money every month to use, like a subscription fee, where PANDORA is free?


January 25th, 2012
1:23 pm

I love pandora!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


January 25th, 2012
1:23 pm

Enter your comments here


January 25th, 2012
5:12 pm

IF it had better quality, I would be all in. It sounds fairly decent on a wifi network, it sounds like squeeze on a nice system streaming on some cell phone. Way too compressed for me.


January 25th, 2012
7:28 pm

@ Curious Alice Spotify does have a subscription option available $4.99 a month gets no ads and $9.99 you can listen from a mobile device but the free version works for me! i can create as many playlist as I want and I can choose as many songs as I want…I LOVE SPOTIFY!!! check it out

Sandy Springs guy

January 26th, 2012
10:34 am

early 40’s here and I have been enjoying Pandora for the past 2 years at work and in my car now. I gave up local radio over a year ago when I got a new car and can play Pandora via the bluetooth or listen to satellite. Arbitron, as would any company, is attempting to maintain control of their own market share and bottom line. I’ve never been a big believer of ratings tracking anyway, not sure how the Portable People Meter is actually a realistic tracking device for the masses.


January 27th, 2012
1:44 pm

I agree with my fellow Spotify fans… much better than pandora. Hopefully it will continue with it’s unlimited free plan.

A Different Jeff

January 31st, 2012
10:03 am

I’ve been listening to Pandora for the better part of 2 years. I like that I hear music on Pandora, not DJs or commercials. Radio DJs are an outdated concept. I lived near Seattle and used to listen to a hard rock station that had no DJs at all, and it was wonderful!
Not to mention, there are rarely commercials on Pandora, and when you do hear them, it’s for 30 seconds, not 3-5 minutes. Also, as was mentioned, you can customize a Pandora station. There’s no customizing a terrestrial radio station!
I do listen to the radio in my car, but only for the news (WSB). Given the choice, I will always go with Pandora.