Today 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 →
Over the next couple of months, we will be implementing some changes to our Pandora One subscription plan so that loyal listeners can continue to enjoy a premium, ad-free Pandora experience.
We’ve been fortunate to be able to offer Pandora One at an affordable price since its debut in 2009 at $36 per year and later with the introduction of a monthly subscription for only $3.99 per month. Over this same period, the costs of delivering this service have grown considerably. For example, the royalty rates Pandora pays to performers via SoundExchange for subscription listening have increased 53% in the last five years and will increase another 9% in 2015. Read More →
Back in the early days of Pandora, I was frequently the person who would post to our blog with news about the latest product enhancements and company milestones. Through the years others increasingly filled that role, but I wanted to pop up here one more time to share one last bit of news: after 10 years, I’m in the process of handing over product and technology leadership to others and transitioning to an advisor role.
I just sent the following email to the Pandora team and I wanted to share it with you as well.
In May of 2004 I met [Pandora founder] Tim for breakfast at a diner in Potrero Hill. I was there to learn about his company Savage Beast and consider the opportunity to join the team of 10 or so he’d assembled. While perhaps I had reservations about the business (music kiosks for book stores!), I knew at once that I wanted to throw my lot in with Tim. Fast forward 10 years and it has truly been the adventure of a lifetime.
The story of Pandora has had many chapters and through most of the twists and turns, I was solely focused on how I could help get the company to the next stage. Rarely did I stop to think about a world where I didn’t make my contribution to the next chapter. I confess though that maybe 18 months ago, I started to think about what I’d need to do to hand over the pen so others could author chapters after my eventual departure.
Then [Pandora's former CEO] Joe’s decision to leave pushed all of those thoughts to the side. My focus for the last twelve months has been to ensure that the company landed confidently in the hands of an exceptional new leader. We’ve found that leader in [Pandora's new CEO] Brian. As I look at the revitalized executive leadership team he has put in place, consider the great leaders on my own team, and contemplate the exciting roadmap we’ve set for the future, I’ve decided that all the pieces are in place to allow me to step aside and let others write the next chapters.
So today we’ve announced that in three months I’ll be transitioning to an adviser role.
We’ve also announced that, effective today, [former Pandora VP of Engineering] Chris Martin has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer and will join the executive leadership team representing our engineering efforts. We are also promoting [former Pandora VP of Technical Operations] Steve Ginsberg to Chief Information Officer today and he and his team will now report to [Pandora CFO] Mike Herring. I’m as proud of all the senior leaders on my team — Chris, Steve, [Pandora VP of Design] Tony and [Pandora VP of Product Management] Mike — as I am about anything I’ve ever accomplished here. These promotions are one reflection of that, and they are richly deserved. If there are successes from the last 10 years you credit to me, they’d almost surely more fairly be credited to Chris, Steve, Tony and Mike.
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At 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 →
As Head of Music Partnerships at Pandora, a large part of my job is working with artists to coordinate live concerts and special events in an effort to fulfill Pandora’s central mission of connecting artists with their fans. Pandora has been successfully doing this online for years, so it’s exciting to bring the experience to life offline.
I’m thrilled to share that this Saturday, Hollywood Records recording artist and actress, Bridgit Mendler, will be the latest to headline Pandora Presents, our live, personalized concert series. The performance is taking place at The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles, hosted by recording artist Asher Monroe with an additional performance by Jake Miller. The show is open to all Bridgit Mendler fans and free of charge, thanks to our strategic partnership with General Mills BFAST, Debrox and Trolli. Read More →
With today’s release of Pandora 5.0 on iOS devices, you will see some refinements to our logo, our app icon, and our visual design. These changes will also be available soon on our website and Android devices. I wanted to take a moment to share the thinking that led to these changes.
When I joined Pandora as its first CMO, I was drawn to the company for a singular reason: it has a clear mission. The principle that drove Tim to start the Music Genome Project in 1999 – to help people enjoy and discover music they love while connecting working artists with new fans – remains the central mission of Pandora today.
Now, almost two years later, I know first hand the commitment and pride of the people who work at Pandora. Our listener support team personally answers each of the tens of thousands of emails we receive each month, usually the same day. Professional musicians and musicologists spend up to an hour meticulously analyzing each song that goes into the Music Genome Project in order to make better recommendations. Curators, music programmers, data scientists and engineers work together to solve the challenge of making better musical connections for each and every listener. Read More →
Today marks the 5-year anniversary of the iPhone App Store and the launch of our iPhone app. Since our launch on the web in 2005, we have always been keenly aware that, in order to truly redefine radio, we would need to break Pandora free from the PC. That tipping point came on July 10, 2008, when the Pandora app debuted during the iPhone App Store launch. The result was beyond our greatest hopes and expectations: Pandora’s growth virtually doubled overnight. We watched in amazement as millions of people downloaded Pandora onto their iPhones and Pandora was transformed from an at-work, desktop experience into an anytime, anywhere, ubiquitous phenomenon.
Pandora immediately became a must-have app. Even today it continues to be one of the most-downloaded and most-used apps around.
Behind the Pandora mobile app is a team of engineers who maintain and improve the app for a variety of smartphone platforms every day. One of these engineers, Neil Mix, has been with Pandora for more than eight years and helped build our very first smartphone app. Here’s his story about its development: Read More →
(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.
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Funny stuff is happening at Pandora!
This week marks two years since Pandora launched the Comedy Genome Project. Just like our music stations, Pandora Comedy is designed to give our listeners a personalized listening experience to help them discover comedy they love, while providing artists with radio airplay and a new way to connect with fans.
Since May 2011, our Comedy collection has grown from 10,000 comedy tracks to over 25,000 tracks, and from 700 to 1,700 comedians. Each of those tracks has been analyzed according to specific comedy traits before being added to the collection. We’ve captured exclusive content at performances in both New York and Los Angeles and hosted live comedy sessions at our Oakland HQ for comics Jason Love, Don Friesen, Beth Stelling, Will Durst, Ian Karmel, and Kevin Avery. Since the launch, we have also doubled the number of comedy genre stations with exciting additions like Women in Comedy, Alternative Comedy, and Latino Comedy. Read More →