Pandora says bye to users in Australia and New Zealand

youtube paid music service march launch listening to
sebra/123RF
Pandora is calling it a day in Australia and New Zealand.

The Oakland, California-based music streaming company will shutter its service  in the two countries — the only markets outside of the U.S. where it operates — in the next few weeks.

A spokesperson for Pandora said it needed to concentrate its efforts on its main block of users, while pointing out that it’s not abandoning all hope of moving back into international markets at a later date.

“While our experience in these markets reinforces the broader global opportunity long-term, in the short-term we must remain laser-focused on the expansion of our core business in the United States,” Pandora told Billboard.

The news comes in the same week that Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren stepped down as CEO after less than two years in the job. Two other executives have also left the company as it takes steps to “refocus and reinforce Pandora,” according to board member Roger Faxon.

The 17-year-old company has been struggling in recent years in the face of tough competition from rivals, particularly big hitters in the space such as Spotify and Apple Music.

While Pandora grew rapidly in its early years as an internet radio service, since 2014 its active user base has been stuck around the 81-million mark, with around 5 million of those thought to reside in Australia and New Zealand. But few of those 81 million users, it seems, have so far signed up to any of its recently launched paid services — Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium.

In contrast, Spotify, which offers on-demand music streaming allowing users to choose the tracks they listen to, continues to grow its global base of paying subscribers, reaching 50 million in March after adding 10 million in just the previous five months. Spotify’s overall user base, which includes those using its free, ad-supported tier, comprises more than 100 million users. Meanwhile, Apple Music, which launched in 2015, reached 20 million paying subscribers toward the end of last year.

Pandora will hope its restructuring efforts announced this week will be enough to turn the company around. A recent $480 million investment by satellite radio company SiriusXM as well as the sale of its ticketing business TicketFly for $200 million, may help, but winning paying subscribers back from Spotify, Apple Music, and other services is among its greatest challenges.

Smart Home

Postmates expands to 1,000 more cities to take on DoorDash and Uber Eats

Postmates has expanded its on-demand delivery service to 1,000 additional U.S. cities, taking the total number served to more than 3,500 across all 50 states and putting it within reach of 70% of households.
Smart Home

You can now have your Amazon packages delivered in your garage

Amazon is expanding its Amazon Key service with Key for Garage. Eligible Amazon Prime subscribers in 50 U.S. cities will be able to sign up, assuming they have a myQ-enabled smart garage door opener.
Outdoors

Lyft is offering free bikeshare rides to highlight Earth Day

To highlight Earth Day and promote its own green efforts, Lyft is offering free rides with its bikeshare programs in six cities across the U.S. on April 22. Anyone interested should check the service's website for full details.
Mobile

Sidestep banking fees with the nationwide launch of T-Mobile Money

T-Mobile has launched its Money banking service nationwide in the U.S., and it offers an extremely tempting set of features for everyone, including industry-leading interest rates, a powerful app, and no banking fees.
Home Theater

Sony releases wireless turntable, new soundbar amid slew of 2019 audio devices

Sony has announced pricing and availability for its 2019 home audio lineup, including a brand-new wireless turntable, a new soundbar, and a slew of Bluetooth speakers that range from small and portable to huge and cupholder-laden.
Movies & TV

From comedies to biopics, these are the best movies about music and musicians

The best movies about music range from hilarious comedies to powerful and informative biopics that illuminate the world of sonic expression from all possible angles. Here are our current favorites.
Home Theater

Puro’s kids headphones don’t just sound great, they help prevent hearing damage

Puro Sound Labs' PuroQuiet headphones are a pair of noise-canceling over-ears that are designed for young listeners, allowing them to jam out to their favorite tunes, but limiting volume to avoid long-term hearing damage.
Computing

Here's how you can download the best free music players for your Mac

Tired of your Mac's default music player? Take a look at our picks for the best free music players available for your Apple rig. Whether you're a casual listener or an audiophile, you're sure to find something that fits your needs here.
Home Theater

Amazon’s free Spotify competitor is here. Just ask Alexa

Just ask Alexa to play your favorite song. Amazon has launched a free, ad-based music streaming service to compete with Spotify's free tier on its popular Echo devices, aiming to bolster subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited.
Music

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. What's changed, and should you subscribe?

Thanks to Google, YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. We explain what exactly a YouTube Premium subscription gets you, how much it costs, and break down if it's a good choice for you.
Deals

Get some bud-green Master and Dynamic wireless headphones for $50 off this 420

Looking for the best possible audio experience to pair with your favorite herb? Master and Dynamic has announced a special 420 edition of its gorgeous on-ear and over-ear headphones, which will be available for $50 off this 4/20.
Music

The best new music this week: Tallest Man On Earth, Cage the Elephant, and more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week: The Tallest Man On Earth, Cage The Elephant, Lizzo, Pivot Gang, and Sad Planets.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek forms, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

The best MP3 players of 2019 cram tons of music into a small package

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? Don't sweat it. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? No worries. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.