When the iPhone first launched, its developer tools were not that rich and Apple did not really encourage third-party apps. It was only a few months after the iPhone’s launch that Apple decided to release a developer kit for the iPhone. Since Pandora was growing rapidly in popularity back then, it wanted to be among the first music streaming apps to be available on the platform.
In between all this, then Apple’s SVP Scott Forstall met Pandora’s co-founder Tim Westergren and CTO Tom Conrad for lunch. During the meeting, the executives talked about what Pandora has learned about streaming audio from releasing their apps on other phones like the Motorola RAZR. When the CTO asked Forstall if there’s anything Pandora can do “to get ready for the next generation of iPhone that includes an app store and native APIs?”
The former Apple’s SVP then replied that “it wouldn’t be a waste of your time to jailbreak some iPhones and use the kind of back door toolkits that were being distributed by other people to build a native Pandora app” while Apple gets its “act together” on something more formal. Ultimately, this is what Pandora engineers did as they jailbroke a few iPhones and worked on a Pandora app for the platform ahead of Apple releasing official support for native apps.
All that hard work paid off as when the App Store launched in 2008, Pandora was the first radio app to be available on it. Nine months later, the app was installed on 21% of iPhones as well. Pandora knew iPhone was going to be the next big “music player” which is why it went through these hoops. Five years after the iPhone app was launched, iPhone users comprised 80% of Pandora’s radio listening userbase.
Pandora ultimately lost out to Spotify as the latter offered users the ability to listen to the music they wanted instead of just being an online radio. If you were ever a Pandora user, you should definitely hit the source link below and check out the entire story on how Pandora managed to survive the royalty battle but still lost out the music streaming wars.[Via Vice]