Tech Voice activated speakers, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, are pumping new life into Pandora's business (P)

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Pandora's active users were down 2%, but users engaging on a voice activated device were up 282% from last year

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microsoft harman kardon invoke cortana

(Harman)
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Pandora's number of active users declined by 2% in the second quarter, but the group of people using the streaming music service on a voice activated device, like Amazon's Echo, grew by a whopping 282% year-over-year, the company said on Monday.

That's 1.6 million listeners on voice activated devices, out of the 76 million Pandora listeners.

The surge in listeners accessing the music service from voice-activated devices reflects the growing popularity of the Amazon Echo, Google Home and other new smart speaker devices (Even Apple has a speaker launching soon). And it could represent an important ray of hope for Pandora's business, which has experienced a steady decline in listeners in recent years.

With voice-activated speaker devices, a user can quickly request whatever song, artist or type of music they're in the mood for simply by speaking to the device. If that kind of convenience and ease of use entices people to spend more time on Pandora, or more people to pay for Pandora's subscription service, that could be a big boon for the company.

Pandora executives on Monday's earnings conference call noted that voice activated devices are a "natural platform" for Pandora, and noted that Pandora is benefitting from connected consumer electronic devices and car-based interfaces.

"In the back half of the year, we will deepen our existing relationships with partners like Amazon, Google and Sonos, and add new partnerships to expand our suite of over 2,000 connected devices," Pandora said on the call.

Despite a tumultuous morning, in which the company announced the end of its services in Australia and New Zealand, it was successful quarter for the music streaming service. Pandora beat Wall Street targets in both revenues and earnings per share in Q2.