Pandora crossing into mass market

According to NPD, awareness and usage of Pandora, a leading online radio station, doubled year over year to 18 percent of Internet users; one-third of those who were aware of Pandora report using the service. Similarly, the percentage of consumers claiming to listen to music on social networks climbed from 15 percent in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2007 to 19 percent in Q4 2008. Nearly half of U.S. teens are engaging with music on social networks, which is an increase from 37 percent a year ago; among college-age Internet users, the percentage increased from 30 percent in 2007 to 41 percent in 2008.

Stanford VLAB event redux

Great event at Stanford VLAB Tues eve. Packed room with 250 plus people at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. On the panel on Music Models online, moderated by Paul Bonanos, MC Hammer, Jessica Kahn of Tapulous, Jordan Kurland who manages Death Cab For Cutie among others, Dorrian Porter of Mozes and Jeff Yasuda of I was pleased with the feedback to private beta of a new music search and ID product that will be coming out from Melodis. After asking the audience to let me know if they wanted to beta test it, I got over 50 cards handed to me.

MC Hammer has a new show called Hammertime coming out on A&E. The camera crews were there in full force. He has over 150k people following him on Twitter, underscoring how powerful the artist fan connection can be. Twitter is clearly gaining a lot of momentum with its "real time web" experience.

Among the interesting data-points were that Tapulous has had over 6 million downloads of its free app with hundreds of thousands of paid purchases of it's artist centric apps at $5 each. Nice people. great app and glad they are doing so nicely.

I highlighted that music is a true passion point for users. It's how they want to spend leisure time and get joy in spite of the economy. That time translates to money in terms of commerce and advertising. Figuring out how to be at the heart of discovery, search and / or listening are the power centers. Notable that 2 of the top 3 apps on the iPhone are music (Pandora at #1 and Shazam at 3).

The mobile phone market feels like the Internet in the mid 90's on DOS and dial up. Crappy and slow. The iPhone on 3G is a crucial platform to get a glimpse of the future. In a broadband mobile world (and we all know that 3G is still "mid band" speed at best), time spent goes way up, as does commerce and advertising. iPhone sales at 14 mm units or so last year is just a remarkable validation of consumer demand for a next gen mobile experience and the app store. Finally a way for third parties to market their products directly to consumers on mobile. Every major phone maker and service provider is rushing to replicate the app store model.

Looking forward to the app store enabling recurring revenue models / subscription and easier in product commerce.

Pandora on Blackberry

It's out. Went to on my Blackberry Bold. Found the mobile page, clicked on Blackberry install and voila. Loaded easily. A little bit of delay on my first time log in as it found my account. Worked flawlessly on my way to San Francisco this morning. Got a call, took it and then it returned to Pandora after the call was done. Radio remains on when I went to email too... including send and receive. This is a really big deal as the iPhone does not enable multitasking like this. UI works great through I prefer the UI and bigger screen on the iPhone more, but the multitasking is quite compelling. Thanks Pandora.

Here's a link to the Boy Genius report:

Social networking overtakes email

Social networking is now the most popular web activity, surpassing even email, according to a new study issued by information and media firm Nielsen. Active reach in what Nielsen defines as "member communities" now exceeds email participation by 67 percent to 65 percent, the firm reports--among all Internet users worldwide, two thirds visited a social networking site in 2008. Facebook now leads the pack: Three out of every 10 web users visit the site at least once a month, and in all, Facebook experienced a 168 percent increase in users in 2008, galvanized by growth among the 35-to-49 demographic.

Mobile social networking is most popular in the U.K., where 23 percent of mobile web users (about 2 million subscribers) now visit social networks via handsets--the U.S. follows at 19 percent, or 10.6 million subscribers. Mobile social networking usage increased 249 percent in the U.K. in 2008, and grew 156 percent in the U.S. Nielsen notes that the most popular social networks via PCs and laptops mirror the most popular services on the mobile web--Facebook is the most popular in five of the six countries where Nielsen measures mobile activity, with Xing proving most popular in Germany. In addition to the mobile web and dedicated mobile social networking applications, users are also interacting with their social networks via SMS--according to Nielsen, at the end of 2008 almost 3 million U.S. users were texting Facebook on a regular basis.

For more on social networking's growth: read this Nielsen report

Read the full article here