(Warning: This is long, but I’d really like to fully articulate Pandora’s perspective on royalties, which is simply impossible to do in just a few sentences.)
Over 13 years ago when I started this company, we set out with a singular mission: to help connect artists with their audiences and help listeners find music that they love. This led to the creation of the personalized radio service known as Pandora. Today, over 70 million listeners tune in to our service every month, where they hear the music of well over 100,000 different artists. These artists span the entire musical spectrum; from the well-known to the completely obscure, representing every imaginable genre. The vast majority of our collection gets no other form of radio airplay. We are incredibly excited about the new music industry that is taking shape as this personalized form of music discovery takes hold – a future that allows tens of thousands of working musicians to finally reach the audiences they deserve.
There has been a fair amount of commentary lately on Pandora’s approach to royalties – some coming from a deliberate and orchestrated campaign funded by the RIAA, and some coming from well-intentioned artists who, because of this misinformation campaign, have been mislead about Pandora’s intentions. I bear these artists no ill will. On the contrary, they are brave to speak out and articulate their perspective openly. David Lowery, Blake Morgan, Roger Waters, David Gilmour & Nick Mason, and others are all speaking from the heart. And as a long-time working musician myself, I fully understand their emotions and concerns. Read More →
Today we’re thrilled to introduce Pandora Premieres, a brand new way to discover music on Pandora.
Pandora Premieres is a new kind of station for us that lets listeners enjoy on-demand access to early album releases from a variety of artists before they go on-sale. We’re kicking it off today with records from John Fogerty, and Laura Marling.
Once the Pandora Premieres station is added, you can choose to hear any track on the featured albums, in any order and as many times as you’d like, until the album hits the stores. We encourage you to tune in regularly because new albums will be featured every week, with some artists also offering additional exclusive content like video interviews.
Read More →
Every artist can remember the first time their music got played on radio. The impact of a local DJ adding the song in rotation, or even just a single spin is huge. For my band, it was KFOG in San Francisco, winter 1994. We were ecstatic. We didn’t get picked up for steady rotation, but for that night we felt like rock stars.
Twenty years later the single-minded quest for airplay remains the industry’s obsession, and for the vast majority of working artists, that quest still ends in failure. But that dynamic is changing. Beneath the radar, there is a sea change that is poised to fundamentally alter the equation for working musicians.
In the month of January of this year, Pandora played the music of more than 100,000 different artists. In that same period of time, the three largest broadcast radio stations in the country played a grand total of 297, 157 and 261 unique artists respectively. For the first time, thousands of working musicians, who have had virtually no terrestrial radioplay, are now on air. And they’re playing for big audiences. Read More →
We are very excited to announce today that Pandora has reached 200 million registered listeners!
When we launched http://www.pandora.com in 2005, we hoped to create a new way to discover and enjoy music that was completely personalized for each and every listener. We envisioned a time when artists of all kinds would thrive on radio, connecting with fans who loved exactly their kind of music.
I have to admit, we had no idea what was in store! It has been, and continues to be, an extraordinary experience for all of us. Read More →
This week we will begin communicating directly with a small number of our listeners as we introduce a 40-hour-per-month limit on free mobile listening.
Most of you reading this will never hit the limit. In fact, it will affect less than 4% of our total monthly active listeners. For perspective, the average listener spends approximately 20 hours listening to Pandora across all devices in any given month. Read More →
I spend a lot of my time evangelizing Pandora to many different audiences. I trumpet our listener growth, the revenue numbers, the impact we’re having on artists, the inventions and innovations in product, the scale of our data and analytics, the intricacies of the Music Genome Project, the volume of our mobile listening and more. All these are a source of great pride, and they never fail to impress the audience.
This really is a fun story to tell. I’ve been telling it for twelve years now, and I never get tired of it. But to this day, there is still one simple thing that gives me more satisfaction and that gives me a deeper sense of achievement than any of these measures. And that is the reaction I get when I say to someone, anyone: “I work at Pandora.”
That’s the best part.
- Tim (Founder)
2013 is going to be an exciting year for Pandora and we are currently looking for smart, self-motivated and passionate people to be part of all the cool things we have coming up!
Check out our job board for current opportunities to join the team.
A belated happy new year to our listeners! We hope you’ve hit the ground running in 2013.
At the end of each year at Pandora we always pause to take a look back. We have much to be thankful for, but the passion and joy we feel from our listeners is at the top of our list. Thank you for making 2012 yet another fantastic year.
When we created the Music Genome Project thirteen years ago, we had a dual purpose: connect people with music they love and help talented artists find their audiences. We knew if we could get the first part right, the second would naturally follow.
Well, it looks like that second part is actually beginning to happen. The Pandora audience is large enough now to begin making a real difference in the lives of thousands of working artists. Your listening tells the whole story. In 2012:
- You listened to over 1 million different songs by over 100,000 different artists.
- Over 10,000 artists had more than 250,000 unique listeners.
- You created over 1.6 billion stations.
- You listened to over 13 billion hours of music.
We believe that all great music deserves an audience. And we hear every day from artists that Pandora is helping them find that audience. It’s incredibly exciting for us… and to think we’ve only just begun.
So thanks again for listening. And remember, if you find a band you love, buy their music, go see a show, join a fan club. That’s how we’ll create a vital and healthy musical culture here, and around the world.
- Tim (Founder)
I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of Pandora’s listeners in Australia and New Zealand. For the first time since 2007, Pandora is available to folks living in Australia and New Zealand and it is a HUGE delight for all of us. In fact, this marks our first international expansion.
We have been extra thorough in curating some new genre stations for local artists from both countries. We know how much they mean to our listeners. Also, now that we are fully live, listeners in Australia and New Zealand can download our mobile app.
In keeping with our age old tradition at Pandora, I will be hosting Town Hall events in Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney this week. I look forward to hearing directly from old, new and future listeners. You can go here to get more information about these events and follow our journey through Australia and New Zealand.
We’ve been dreaming of this day for a long time now, and can’t wait to start connecting music and listeners across continents halfway around the world.
We said we’d be back and now we are, so please be sure to spread the news!
For over 12 years now we have been carefully and deliberately assembling the music that streams on Pandora. The Music Genome Project collection now includes over 100,000 artists, the majority of them independent, spanning hundreds of genres. It is a great point of personal pride for me, and for all of us here at Pandora that over 95% of these artists stream every month on the service.
Over the years the Pandora office has had the great pleasure of receiving visits from many of these talented musicians and comedians. Some are well-established artists in town for a major show, others are in the middle of a grassroots tour, hitting coffee houses and small clubs up and down the West Coast (something I remember doing myself for many years).
Sometimes we just meet up to show them around the office and learn about their careers, other times our employees are treated to a short performance. We also take the opportunity to show them the Music Genome Project and walk them through an analysis of their music, along with some data on their audience on Pandora. It’s been fun to see their reaction when they learn which songs are the most “thumbed up” or how large their audience is, and what areas around the country are particularly enthusiastic for their sound (we’ll be posting some more detail on that soon).
We’ve been doing this very informally for a while, but as the shows have grown in popularity both internally and externally, we recently decided to put some more effort into the programming. Earlier this year we started taping some of our in-office performances, and we gave them a name: the Whiteboard Sessions. The performances take place in front of a giant whiteboard in a common area of our office. On the day of the show one of our designers creates a unique drawing to represent each artist on the white board, which becomes the backdrop for the performance. If you follow us on social media you may have seen some photos from these performances.
The Whiteboard Sessions are unique because the daytime office environment calls for a different kind of performance than what people normally see at concerts. These sessions are mostly acoustic and there is a lot of interaction with the crowd. And there’s lots of improvising too – recycling bins become percussion instruments. There’s really nothing quite like an intimate, un-plugged show, up close and personal. Read More →
Have you heard of Donnie McClurkin, French Montana or Grupo Bryndis? If you haven’t you’re not alone. They are artists whose sales ranks on Amazon are 4,752, 17,000 and 183,187, respectively. These are all working artists who live well outside the mainstream – no steady rotation on broadcast radio, no high profile opening slots on major tours, no front page placement in online retail. What they also have in common is a steady income from Pandora. In the next twelve months Pandora is on track to pay performance fees of $100,228, $138,567 and $114,192, respectively, for the music we play to their large and fast-growing audiences on Pandora.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For over two thousand artists Pandora will pay over $10,000 dollars each over the next 12 months (including one of my favorites, the late jazz pianist Oscar Peterson), and for more than 800 we’ll pay over $50,000, more than the income of the average American household. For top earners like Coldplay, Adele, Wiz Khalifa, Jason Aldean and others Pandora is already paying over $1 million each. Drake and Lil Wayne are fast approaching a $3 million annual rate each.
This revenue stream is meaningful. I remember the many years I spent in a band when earning an additional thousand dollars a month would have been the difference between making music an avocation and a hobby. We’re talking here about the very real possibility of creating, for the first time ever, an actual musicians middle class.
It’s hard to look at these numbers and not see that internet radio presents an incredible opportunity to build a better future for artists. Not only is it bringing tens of millions of listeners back to music, across hundreds of genres, but it is also enabling musicians to earn a living. It’s also hard to look at these numbers, knowing Pandora accounts for just 6.5% of radio listening in the U.S., and not come away thinking something is wrong. Read More →