Tim Westergren

Founder http://www.pandora.com/profile/tim

Another Big Step Towards Artist Empowerment: Pandora & Next Big Sound

NBS-Odesza_for blogIn September of last year we launched the Artist Marketing Platform (AMP) with Artist Insights, a tool that allows every musician on Pandora to view their entire audience and listening history on the service. Thousands of musicians have since claimed their identity and they, as well as their managers, bookers and labels are using the information daily to help plan tours, decide set lists and understand their fans. In February, we added Artist Audio Messaging—a new product enabling direct communication between artists and these fans. Millions of targeted audio messages have already been broadcast from this innovative new system, alerting listeners to new records and local shows from their favorite artists.

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Now Playing on Pandora: Messages from Artists

Since I founded Pandora, we’ve been dedicated to helping listeners effortlessly discover and enjoy music they love. But all along, we’ve envisioned a time when the power of the platform could be put in the hands of the artists. That chapter has now begun. In October we launched AMP – a platform that gives artists insights about how fans are engaging with their music, including data showing where their fans are located and how much they are thumbing certain songs. Thousands of artists are actively using the service.

UnknownNow, we’re embarking on an exciting new development: helping artists communicate directly with fans. This week we are launching Artist Audio Messaging, which provides artists the ability to send personalized messages to their fans on Pandora. For now, we’re making this available to a small group of artists as part of our initial pilot, but we’re looking to learn and scale the service over time.

We’re excited by the range of possibilities of what these messages could be: a tour announcement, new album drop, a crowd-funding campaign, the story behind their latest song or simply a thank you to fans for listening. Read More →

50 BILLION Thumbs

Just a few years ago, Jason Derulo stopped by our offices to celebrate receiving the 10 billionth thumb on Pandora. Today, I am proud to share that we have passed 50 billion thumbs. 50 billion. That’s roughly seven thumbs for every person on Earth.

As milestones go, this one is particularly meaningful. Our entire mission is to give listeners the ability to personalize their experience. Thumbs give each listener the power to make Pandora personal to them. Every thumb up and thumb down has not only made your stations better, but helped us make better song choices for every listener. This is a serious group effort – so, thanks!

As you can imagine, it took a lot of songs to hit 50 billion thumbs. While we can’t share every single one, we did want to highlight some of the more momentous thumb recipients along the way.

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Artists on Pandora: Introducing AMP

Heat map for AMP blogWhen I was about 28, a band I was in drove 1,098 miles from San Francisco to Telluride, Colorado to play a club gig. It was our first trip to the state and we were excited to be on the road. We arrived just a few hours before soundcheck, and we spent that time putting flyers on telephone polls and walking around town spreading the word, passing out printed invitations. About 15 people showed up for the gig. Read More →

Artists on Pandora…Prologue

blog_post_image3Today marks an exciting new chapter for Pandora. From the first day we launched, we have looked forward to the time when we would begin enabling artists to become active participants in the service. Personalized internet radio has a set of capabilities that make it unique in its potential to empower musicians and activate fans. Where broadcast radio spins a few thousand different songs a year, we play hundreds of thousands. And as we approach 10% of all radio listening in the U.S., the audiences for many of these artists are becoming very meaningful. Combine that scale with the rich understanding of each listeners’ taste and the ability to communicate with them in a personalized, one-to-one way and you have an opportunity to reinvent how music is discovered and promoted, allowing it to flow much more freely between artist and fan.

I spent years in working bands, back before the web came along, and it was the challenge every band faced in building an audience and surviving that was the original inspiration for this company. So much great music has never reached its audience because it never found a home on broadcast radio…without radio, all we had were flyers and a staple gun. We have the chance to change that in a fundamental way.

The first step in making that happen is a partnership with artists and their labels. Close collaboration and the active involvement of musicians and their partners is crucial to a successful design and implementation. Today, the first such partnership for Pandora was formally launched through an agreement with Merlin. Merlin is the world’s largest organization for independent record labels, whose members represent over 20,000 labels. This agreement will give us the flexibility to accelerate the discovery of thousands of bands, and to enable them to begin actively communicating with their audience on Pandora. Read More →

Pandora hits 2 million registered users in Australia and New Zealand!

I am very excited to announce today that Pandora has crossed the 2 million registered listener mark across Australia and New Zealand! We’re incredibly excited.

When we first entered the ANZ market, we had no idea what would happen; it was like starting from scratch all over again. But the response was amazing. We hit the 1 million registered milestone in one year, and now just seven months later that number has doubled. And all by word of mouth. Wow.

It’s clear that listeners are embracing this more personalized and engaging form of radio. Internet radio not only offers a station for every listener, regardless of their music taste, it also is home to tens of thousands of artists that never get played on any other form of radio – a great platform for discovery – including for the thousands of indie bands in the region that we’ve been adding fast and furiously to the Music Genome Project (by the way, we’d love your suggestions).

With nearly 100 million pieces of “thumb” feedback already from local listeners, we’re rapidly improving the service for the Aussie and Kiwi sensibility. The song choices and personalization are getting better by the minute. Hopefully you’re noticing that!

It’s also great to see so many people adopting mobile and other connected devices for listening. Already, over 75% of our hours are spent on something other than a desktop computer.

Thank you for such a warm embrace. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it were not for the listeners telling their loved ones, friends or even a stranger on the bus about our music discovery service. We owe it all to you and will do everything we can to give you the greatest possible listening experience, for years to come.

Thank you from everyone here at Pandora.

Cheers.

Tim (Founder)

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Introducing Pandora’s Open Music Submission Process: Getting Your Music Heard

curation picAt Pandora, our central mission is connecting artists with listeners who will love their music. Our goal is to enable every talented artist to reach the audience they deserve, without regard to the style of their music or their popularity.

When it comes to access and promotion, enormous hurdles have always confronted musicians and comedians, especially independent or self-releasing artists, in getting an equal opportunity to be heard. This is why I’m thrilled to introduce our new open music submission process. Read More →

Pandora and Royalties

(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 →

Pandora Premieres: A New Way to Discover

Today we’re thrilled to introduce Pandora Premieres, a brand new way to discover music on Pandora.

Premieres ImagePandora 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.

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What Our 200 Million Registered Listeners Can Mean for Under-the-Radar Musicians

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 →