June 15, 2011 at 10:16 am

Pandora Debuts on New York Stock Exchange

pandora ipo

It’s not every day that writing about music apps means discussing a $2.6 billion initial public offering.

Pandora’s IPO valued the company, whose customizable streaming radio service is used by approximately one out of every ten Americans, at $2.6 billion dollars, or $16 per share under the symbol “P.” As the chart above shows (via Google, which has updated numbers), trading spiked sharply when the market opened, and the company’s value increased upwards of 40 percent in less than an hour.

TechCrunch and others report that Pandora has 94 million users, but Evolver.fm recently learned that only around 30 million of those are active users of the service — not bad, considering that it’s only available in America, which has a population of about 307 million, many of whom aren’t music fans and/or don’t have broadband, a cellular data plan, a smartphone, or a Sonos.

Pandora founder Tim Westergren credits much of Pandora’s growth to its selection of smartphone apps, which allow listeners to bring the service wherever they go, so long as there’s an available cellphone or WiFi connection. By one interpretation of its numbers, however, Pandora doesn’t make much money streaming to mobile —  ”yet,” one imagines.

The smartphone’s ability to deliver locally (and personally) targeted advertising should provide plenty of ways for Pandora to make all that mobile usage pay as well, which would sure make all of its new investors happy.

As Peter Kafka of All Things Digital pointed out in a headline that would have made heads spin ten years ago, “Pandora is a free music company worth $2.6 billion.”

Now it’s worth even more. (Track Pandora’s stock price on Google.)