Jailbreaking the iPhone Helped Pandora Succeed as a Company During Its Early Years

Pandora is one of those companies that really doesn’t need an introduction. The popular streaming music service has garnered over 100 million registered users, and it just went public in June of this year with a stock price of $16/share.

But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the company, according to Pandora’s CTO Tom Conrad. Conrad spoke at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference earlier this week about the company’s rocky start, and how jailbreaking the iPhone changed everything…

The CTO explained that Pandora initially developed implementations for around 50 feature phones, but none of these ever really took off. Then the iPhone came along and the company became very excited. They saw it as a viable mobile device for their service.

But when Apple launched their smartphone in 2007, there wasn’t a third party app store. So Pandora developers had to jailbreak their iPhones to start working on software for the platform — and it paid off big time.

When the App Store went live in July of 2008, Pandora was ready to go. Their user base exploded, and now Conrad says that over 70% of Pandora’s listening happens on mobile devices.

It’s kind of cool to hear that a big company benefited from the jailbreak community, and this is another example of how jailbreaking spurs innovation. What if Apple hadn’t launched the App Store in 2008? Would Pandara have been a Cydia application?