A Sad Day

This is a very sad day for Pandora, and for me personally. Today we reduced our staff from 140 to 120 employees. Like virtually every company, Pandora is not immune to the challenges presented by the current economic turmoil. We are trying to react quickly and responsibly to the new environment.
We cherish our employees. We have painstakingly built a team that I am tremendously proud of – there’s not a person in our company who hasn’t contributed substantially to what we do, and who we are. The twenty folks we let go today were no exception.
I started this company nine years ago. I lived through some very tough times back in 2001-2002. But letting go of an employee will, for me at least, always be the most gut-wrenching thing there is. We tried our best today to treat these friends and colleagues with great understanding, and with as much financial support for their transition as we can afford.
There are tough times ahead for the economy, but our listenership is growing rapidly, the Internet radio royalty rate resolution seems finally near, and the explosion of mobile devices like the iPhone are opening up a world of opportunity for internet radio to expand off the desktop. Moreover, our ad sales are growing so well that, not only did we not make any reductions there, we need to continue to hire more.
It’s just hard to be excited about all that today.
Tim (Founder)


The Pandora Team http://www.pandora.com/

110 thoughts on “A Sad Day

  1. By the way…
    for those that are talking “smarty” about Last.FM :
    Pandora is the NUMBER ONE ,
    and a copy will never overcome the ORIGINAL…
    If you cant appreciate the MGP, then go… cause
    there are millions who are comming in.
    Somos los que somos y estamos los que estamos,
    blesss it up for Pandora !!!!

  2. Speaking of Pandora on mobile devices, when will you be making a partnership with Verizon? I would love to listen to Pandora on my LG Dare but sadly my device does not support Pandora right now.


  4. Whats happening with trying to get Pandora accessed by everyone?
    The rest of the world misses Pandora!! :(
    Please don’t give up, we’re still waiting.

  5. Well, music is universal so all understand that things happen and music can freely express for all.
    This earth is a school ground so take what you learn and move on with another skill, and shoot for a memory that will stay with you. For life we must make it happen for the good while we are here.
    Sky is the limit!!!!

  6. Su – Yes indeed, Tim is married. :)
    Cali – We’d love to be available on Verizon phones! I hope it happens.
    Meredith – Sorry, there’s no legal way for us to repeat a song for you.
    Cheers, Lucia

  7. You have done a very good job with the site keep up the good work. Sorry bout ur employees :( I hope things get better. I’am sure that things will get better in the end:)

  8. Okay, Pandora’s letting people go from what the first paragraph said. So excuse me if I came in late or just overlooked something, but the last paragraph noted that ad sales were heightened so why not employ back those let off or why let off in the first place. I know that is Confo info, but just wondering?

  9. Sorry to hear the you had to downsize, I have been through that 3 times myself. I am glad to know that you are in NY City, just visted the great apple this past week-end and always enjoy myself as well as I enjoy listening to Pandora. I’m new to the Pandor family but I completely satisfied.

  10. Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts on this, everyone. One question that seems to be common is why are we still hiring ad sales people while we’re letting people go in other areas.
    I completely understand how this seems contradictory. The path we’re trying to forge here is to lower our costs while increasing revenue.
    While our advertising revenue is on a great trajectory, our listener growth has been even more rapid – so we have a lot of potential revenue to go after.
    By increasing the size of our ad sales team we increase our ability to bring in that potential revenue. By making cuts in other areas we control our costs.
    Hope this makes sense.

  11. I too am having a problem with Pandora cutting off songs. Also, I’m listening to my “Thelonious Monk” station and after four songs I still haven’t heard Thelonious. I discover a lot of musicians I didn’t know about through Pandora, but it would be nice to hear Thelonious when I ask for Thelonious, and it would be nice to hear from more than three or four Monk albums.

  12. Tim
    Thatsucks majorly.As a long time listener, I appreciate everything you guys have done as a whole.Hopefully sometime in the near future you can rehire and even grow again. Its a tough nut out here. I know my company went on strike 2 1/2 months ago. I have a mortgage and mouths to feed.
    Hang tough Tim. This is when we need music more.
    God Bless Pandora

  13. I started my own small business coupled with a poor choice in a business partner. This lead to unfortunatly shutting down my entire business- and letting go all of my employees that all held that special place with me. I know how hard it is. Can you make a posting that will come up when we log on to Pandora so that listeners know how to support your site more effectivly. Hopefully Pandora never goes out of business, even through economic hardship, you make my day full of smiles.

  14. Has any one else noticed that the songs have been ending have way through, or ending before it barely gets started? Whats up with that? …Getting on my nerves.

  15. Of course make total sense….
    They need more sellers to bring money to pay the employees that are not sellers,
    By the way, I live in Los Angeles, there are many stores and big companies here…
    Could I just go and try to sell advertisement? I have a degree in sales and I have sold before, maybe I can just go an try…or you prefer better not? Let me know I would love to do it and just get a comission if I make it :)… ,

  16. Tim –
    Found your site today – GREAT
    A huge under taking to consider –
    A link to the lyrics of each song as it is playing.
    Best of luck as you grow.

  17. man the voids are huge but thank you I was in Seattle during the eighties and knew (not well) Layne etc. he held my son before my mom! love what your doin here 4 real! I was a sorority cook then at 20 tryin to get em to listen to Mother love Bone and Alice, Sound Garden and Jaines to name a few. They called me Satan and then two years later it was all the played now I’m back uin Idaho doin the same thing cookin for 70 girls that is and one of my frat boy hashers turned me on to you well Nice to hear the Gits, Tones on tail and on and on wish I could get some Grunt truck tho, damb I filled a huge mason jar over a ten year stint at the u of W then took time off its time to educate the finer thin’s to listen to to these kids and them me . Peace! I remember seein’ Andrew Wood every day on the ave to and from work and sure miss the rock candy growers stoppin off at my house every night bringin fun people to meet like Dem and many more love what your doing. Tom

  18. What A drag,I’m sorry to hear such bad news.
    Butt I really think the way things are going
    Pandora will ROCK on, And you can hire those
    employs back.Butt A man has to do what A man
    has to do.So Keep on Keepn’ on Tim (and the
    rest of your fantastic TEAM.
    Best Wishes Rick Cain

  19. I’m sorry for the loss to your company. These times are getting scarier and scarier by the day for pretty much everyone.
    I originally came here to post a huge THANK YOU for finally making the Pandora app available for the Instinct…I subscribed this week and have been enjoying it very much. I just can’t thank you enough for making that happen!
    I’m pretty sure most of us around here would subscribe to your web service if you set it up that way…I did not hesitate for the mobile app…well worth it, and then some!
    Hang in there…hoping for better times ahead.

  20. hey man, i’m sorry that the company had to go through that, but your on the right path man. I’m a serious fan of what you’ve put together here and everywhere I go, when I encounter real music fans, I tell them over and over, Pandora.com man. Keep moving forward my brother, even greater things lie in your future.

  21. I’m sorry for your loss. Times are HARD, and the worst thing is that it’s not really our fault, still you work with what you have.
    One question though. I am going to purchase a G1 as opposed to an IPOD, mostly because I prefer T-mobile to AT&T. Will I be able to load my Pandora lists using the Android operating system? Please don’t tell me you signed a proprietary contract with Apple. Don’t get me wrong, I love my MAC, but I also like the freedom of spreading my eggs around to many baskets.

  22. I just found Pandora last night and I love it!!
    So very sorry to hear about the lay offs!!:( hopefully things will be picking up and they will be hired back. I will be praying for them.
    I totally love Pandora,it is better and easier to
    use than Rhabsody(not sure of the spelling)and
    the lyric section is great!!you don’t know how
    many songs I sing with the wrong words!!lol
    keep on keeping on!!!

  23. I never turn Pandora off.. I don’t turn the tube on anymore and tell everyone I know about this site.. I can’t believe the support I’ve just read isn’t enough to keep you all in the excessive green.

  24. I too love Pandora and am sorry to hear about the hard times hitting you, as well as everyone else. I was wondering if there is any thought in the works for creating a “Broadway” genre that could include songs from musicals?

  25. Your product has been a huge blessing to my husband and I. Thank you so much for including such a fantastic collection of music – including a ton of Christian tunes of all genres. I would encourage you to do a ton of guerilla marketing online, i.e. free or cheap. You have such a viral product. I am sure all you fans will post you to their FB pages and more.

  26. I would be completely OK with hearing occasional inline audio advertising in my Pandora feed, if that would keep you guys in business and keep the service available. Maybe a 3 second audio splash every 4th or 5th song and a 15 second ad every hour or so, regardless of how often I change stations or log-off / log-on?
    I LOVE!! Pandora, and have recommend it to just about everybody I know!

  27. I hope this cheers you up. I am a first year high school art teacher and I play Pandora every single day in class. The students have enjoyed the stations i choose, and have told me that they have now joined at home. It has also been brought up that the music helps them relax in class and has now become one of their favorites because this. I want to tell you thank you on behalf of my students and myself, for helping create such a great creative atmosphere for this classroom.

  28. Hey Tim and Pandora Family,
    I’m real sorry about the recent layoff’s that you have experienced but I just wanted to tell you all that this service you provide for your listening audience is nothing but AWESOME!!
    I wish I could subscribe and not just take advantage of the FREE part…but I’m just not able to at this time.
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR PANDORA!! You make my work day truly livable……!!! Sincerely, ‘da Wind Dancer

  29. Hey! I totally agree with Jennifer’s post she wrote on October 28th….If having occasional advertising on it will help, that’s okay by me!!
    ANYTHING to help keep PANDORA alive and well!!!

  30. I love Pandora and hate to hear that members of it’s family have had to move on.
    Thanks to you all for making it what it is.
    On another note, I can’t believe that I went this long without Pandora. The last three months since I discovered it’s wonder have made work much more bareable.
    Thanks again to you all.

  31. Perhaps a better selection of music would have saved those employees. I can never find anything on Pandora, unless I’m looking to listen to the same stuff I hear every where else.

  32. OK, just an idea, you should have a donations box. Make sure listeners know that you are in need, and never doubt the loyalty of listeners!

  33. What can fans do to help support Pandora?
    I saw a link in the “you’ve-been-inactive-for-too-long” dialog about subscribing, but despite all my clicks around the site now, I can’t find info about it. As some users above have asked, does that imply that you get more revenue from the ad-supported listeners? Do advertising companies consider advertising with pandora more successful based on the number of click-throughs?
    I re-state my main question, and the question of some other commentators as well: what can fans do to help support Pandora?

  34. Tim,
    I’m sorry you had to lose some of your staff. I am a new but very loyal listener to Pandora, and absolutely LOVE what you are doing. The best you can do is treat your staff with care and respect. Times will turn around, and Pandora will be incredibly successful. I really appreciate what you are doing!

  35. I am sorry. But you know what life is that way. You go through good and bad times. I really like this website and I go to it everyday and it plays all the music I want. You have done a great job and you should not give up!

  36. I found your website two years ago and I am amazed at the improvements in just this period of time. Musically it is my favorite place to visit on the web. It is great that you made a statement to the entire family and listeners/viewers, your difficulty and appreciation to those who contribute to your success, of the pandora project. Our hearts go out to all the families this has impacted and God Bless.

  37. So sorry to read about the lay-offs…I too had been laid-off recently..I always enjoyed listening to your website music everyday at work..thanks for keeping Pandora going…
    P.S. Don’t like seeing Obama on your website.

  38. Sorry, but it really bothers me to hear somebody to say “…and those 20 no less so”. Well, you obviously made them feel less so in a very real way. Clearly you felt they were redundant. Spare us the crocodile tears. It would have been better if you just acted like a cold-hearted CEO only concerned with increasing profits .25 cents share. If the outlook was so bright, why did you not keep them on?
    I’ll tune back in when I hear that they have been rehired. I wonder if anybody took a salary cut or made to with less to possibly have kept those 20 on a bit longer.
    Ps – I am totally unaffiliated with either Pandora’s management or those cruelly let go. I just don’t like layoffs.

  39. Hi,
    I just want to say that I really love this type of music websites! I love how you can just put your fave song on the create a new radio station thing and music like it apear and you can listen to types of music that you like.
    Thanx to all pandora workers!

  40. So you are hiring? But letting go too?
    Well, I will work for pt if you wish.
    I have little to do.
    I do think its odd you wish to hire and fire at the same time, unless I read this post wrong.
    Cheers, Ssg Sisk.

  41. Man – I agree with everyone else on here. Pandora is excellent. I am totally addicted to it. I hadn’t really pursued subscribing to the paid service because the ad version is so unobtrusive. (btw, I’ve followed at least one of the ads through to a purchase – an HP printer). I think a little more advertising wouldn’t hurt the service at all. And if subscribing would ensure your continued success, I’ll do that too.
    I’ve made a list of my favorite (previously unfamiliar) songs and I purchase several every couple of weeks to build up my personal library. If I can’t get connected to Pandora (like in my truck) I’ve got them on CD. My list is up to 329 songs that I’d like to buy. I’ve purchase 50 or so of my favorites so far. Do you make any revenue from song purchases if I use the link on your site?
    One last note, keep up the good work. You’ve got a fantastic product, and word will spread. Free enterprise will weed out the underperformers and retain the winners. You guys are winners.
    Joe in Maryland
    (Oh, and one suggestion that I’ve been thinking about. The music genome should include something about the emotional attributes of each song, in addition to the excellent musical attributes. And maybe you could use your listeners to add attributes somehow, make a music wiki or something.)

  42. say it ai’n so!!! I heard an ugly rumor the other day that PANDORA was shutting down,what can I do to keep this from happening? I just found out about PANDORA a few weeks ago and I love it and tell everyone I know about it. Also, what is the advantage of buying a subscription to PANDORA, how do I and how much? Please keep PANDORA alive!

  43. First time I have ever posted a comment to a blog. ( apologies in advance for any indescretions )
    Seems to me that Pandora is what many of us always dreamed a radio station should be. Congratulations on creating this. It is incredible and I certainly try to bring you more listeners every week.
    I saw the NYT article regarding Pandora and realize that the model is a bit shaky. So how do you shore up the model to ensure long range success?
    Money does make the world run, so let us, the listeners know what we should be prepared to do to make this a profitable venture. Maybe a more ineractive click through program or a small subscription rate. Either seems reasonable to me

  44. It’s sad but true. I think we have bigger battles to encounter and to overcome regardless. But, as Terrence McKenna says, we can overcome hate and war and diversity by creating ART through exploring every form to create a better world to live in.

  45. Why is it so difficult to find Middle Eastern music or music that is categorized as world music from other countries such as France, Spain, etc.