Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) recently became the target of competition from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) but that hasn’t stopped the company’s steady march toward growth. The streaming company has released its listening metrics for September and showed a small gain in active listeners over August.

Pandora

The metrics are a psychological boost for the stock, according to a report from Michael Graham of Canaccord. That theory played out in today’s market. Shares in Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) have risen by more than 6 percent in morning trading. Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) is not looking as soft as many thought in the wake of the iTunes Radio release, but that may change.

Pandora on the up

Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE:P) showed growth in active listeners of 0.6 million over August in September. That represents an increase of close to 1 percent month over month and an increase of about 25 percent over the same month last year. Total listening hours were 1.36 billion in September, slightly higher than 1.35 billion in August.

Graham says that he did not expect the introduction of iTunes Radio toward the end of September to have a material effect on Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P)’s listening numbers, but the news is still a relief for the market. Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) shares have still not reached the highs they hit in the week before the release of iTunes Radio.

Graham is also reasonably impressed with engagement at Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) during September. The company showed that hours per listener were basically flat from August. In the last two years this metric decreased for the company. Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) looks good right now, but Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is around the corner.

iTunes Radio looming

An arms race between two companies in a growing industry often has the effect of growth on both companies. Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) may actually benefit from the introduction of iTunes Radio in the short and medium term as subscription listening pops up on the radar of more people. The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) service may not be all bad after all.

That is an impossible conclusion to make based on the company’s September listening numbers, however. The effect of iTunes Radio is difficult to predict, and it may be materially negative for Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P). Today’s report has removed a physical barrier on the value of the company, however, and that is meaningful for those invested in the company.