**UPDATED from 2:23 P.M. EST to add screen captures from Apple's App Store on Pages One and Two and details on the debut of Beats Music on Page Two.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As I explained in Here's Why Pandora Keeps Crushing The Market, if you do not view Pandora (P) as a dynamic redefinition of traditional broadcast radio, you fail to completely understand the company's story and epic stock price run.
While there's no doubt Pandora competes for ears with everything from Apple's (AAPL) iTunes Radio to Spotify to the newly-released Beats Music, it runs a fundamentally different (as well as more mature and sophisticated) operation than any of those names or the dozens that fall between.
Former Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy made the decision to disrupt traditional radio before Apple released its first iPhone. When Steve Jobs introduced the Blackberry (BBRY)-killing smartphone, he featured Pandora, primarily because of its straightforward and intuitive platform. Jobs realized something that still stands today -- Pandora can help Apple sell iPhones.
Despite all the babbling about competition from established, new and/or emerging Internet radio players, Pandora remains the third top grossing app in Apple's App Store, the top free music app and the 18th free app overall (for comparison sake, Netflix (NFLX) is 23rd, Twitter (TWTR) is 28th and, at 37th, Spotify is the next closest free music app). These numbers are all as of noonish, West Coast time, Monday.The third top grossing app overall in Apple's App Store. Think about that. Here's a company that pretty much chooses to not promote its subscription option at all and it's the third top grossing app in Apple's Apple Store. These other cats bend over frontwards, backwards and side-to-side trying to get you to subscribe and -- check my work, again, as of noonish Monday -- the next Internet radio app to appear on the top grossing list isn't even Spotify, it's the very worthy Rdio in 45th place. The not-nearly-as-worthy Slacker Radio comes in at 64th.
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