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“Or the internet radio service. Already controls about half. The internet radio market. Now in in a new challenge to traditional radio pandora is going to be available.
When you behind. The wheel of your automobile. Can the move help pandora raise its bottom line can it project. More profits.
Oh. My guest is tim westergren. He is the founder of pandora. And also the chief strategy officer of the company welcome to taking stock.
Tim thanks nice to be here. Now just can you explain for those of us too old to figure out exactly at a used pandora. Exactly what is it and how did you come up with the idea sure. It s actually very simple it s personalized radio.
So it allows you to create radio stations based on your favorite songs and artists you type in a song gourd artist into pandora. And it create and it starts playing music for you a station based on that so the musical starting point and you can listen to it on smartphones on your computer and now in the car now as this personalization becomes more and more common this means that that kind of information would be available to potential advertisers right well overall. We do target our advertising on pandora advertises a very interest in reaching particular audiences and that s actually one of the real strengths of internet radio as a marketing platform and we re seeing advertisers coming to us faster and faster for that reason now you re trying to move into the world of the automobile trying to gain more market share in drive time radio. How would that work i believe the ford fiesta is going to be featuring pandora.
Yeah. That s the first one well half of all radio listening has historically been in the car. So for any company that wants to be a big radio player needs to have a solution for the car and we re just beginning..
That now pandora will be easily available in the car and controllable through the dashboard. So it ll look and feel a lot like a radio. You have now only it ll be personalized. So it ll be really streaming music that you like as an individual listener now what kind of reception have you gotten so far from advertisers.
I know that for example whole foods is an advertiser as well as hallmark and they ve been able to actually tailor some of their campaigns specific types of users sure what advertisers are really i think beginning to discover pandora 45 of the top 50 advertisers on the web are ons are advertising on pandora right now and it ranges from apparel companies to alcohol packaged goods technology companies really they re all coming on board and i think it s a combination of an incredible advertising platform that can target that can reach people from the morning through the evening. Weekdays and weekends as well as the size of our audience. We having a 65 million listeners just in the us now can you give us a little bit of background on pandora. This is a company that you found it in two thousand and you ve had to actually pay for the use of a lot of the music because right now.
The audience doesn t pay how has that worked out if i remember correctly you and i had a conversation about this a couple years ago. The the service does pay royalties so we pay artists which something that we are actually happy to do and a few years ago. We did have a challenge where the rates that we pay were hiked dramatically through some legislation in washington and we were able largely through the support of our listeners and a grassroots political campaign. Able to turn those fees back to a more reasonable level.
So pandora is a nice firm footing and a sort of long term security around its rate. So we re really now digging in to build a business. Now tim you ve got a background not only in music. But also in computer science.
How is the sort of technology of producing radio for personalized taste. How is that changing and evolving right. Now well pandora is an interesting marriage of sort of computer science and musicology sort of human musicology that the underlying data that drives pandora is something called the music genome project. And it s as hand built musical taxonomy.
If you will kind of a big collection of musical dna that allows us to i think intelligently connect to one song to another and build playlists that have sort of musical relevance. That s how pandora is so quickly and easily personalizable. So you type in one song..
One artist pandora s and this enormous database and can instantly deliver. You sort of on target. Listening. Tim westergren.
What kind of response have you gotten from traditional radio. As well as satellite radio operators. Because you re going into the dashboard of automobiles well. I think internet radio is still a relatively small piece of the puzzle.
And i think there s room for all types of radio. But in terms of our growth. I think we re seeing amongst consumers as people are discovering this new version of radio. Something that s personalized.
I think they re finding it a really attractive option and you know we re growing. Very very quickly as is our category. So i think we re going to will soon be everywhere. Broadcast radio is now the smartphones and the popularity of smartphones has really propelled pandora is that where the future is not only in the dashboard of the automobile but in the increasing adoption of smartphone technology.
Yeah really smart phones have been the big game changer for us we launched on the iphone a couple years ago that quickly led to a bunch of other smartphones that the blackberry. The palm more recently the android platform and that s driven not only a huge acceleration and adoption. But i think maybe more importantly people have begun taking these little devices and plugging them into stuff so they plug them into their car dashboard so they would take these faces to the gym or they dock them at home and just stream pandora pandora through their home stereo system. And it s meant that pandora has become became almost overnight a truly anytime anywhere experience and on the heels of that now over 200 consumer electronics devices are embedded with pandora so you it s really becoming something you can listen to just about any time anywhere.
And that s largely thanks to smartphones. Now tim you know previously on the program. We had dr..
Dre and jimmy iovine of interscope records. They were producing new types of headphones. Because they feel that with all these new gadgets that you describe smartphones that those little earbuds that they don t do the sound justice. Have you found that to be the case well i certainly think it s true that when you re listening to music on an earbud you re not going to get anywhere near the sound quality without of speakers for our part.
I think one of the most exciting growth categories for us is the home about thirty five percent of all radio happens in the home and pandora is developing a whole suite of relationships. There where you can stream pandora. Essentially for your stereo system. So it might be through a blu ray player or through a flat screen tv or or some kind of connected stereo device and you re listening to it then with a full speaker system it kind of makes pandora really hung tim.
What about the music industry. What kind of response have you gotten from the heavyweights of music publishing as well as sort of the the record companies well that s evolved over time. There was a time a couple years ago and we were quite adversarial around the licensing rates. But i think now the industry s understood that pandora is a good actor here that we drive sales and drive exposure.
We re a payer of royalties unlike other forms of radio namely. Broadcast internet radio is i think something really good for the business. So we work with a lot of labels and as a company and one of our missions. I was a long time working musician myself is to help promote artists that s part of our own dna.
We ll talk about that in terms of the composer s because now to be a composer. You don t necessarily need a huge record contract or a major distribution. You can do a lot of that just using the internet. What have you heard from composers.
Well. It s certainly true that i think pandora is providing this incredible promotional platform for. Artists and we have over 80000..
Artists in our collection and the vast majority of those artists are independent. So this is providing this invaluable source of promotion for them. I think artists understand that and one of the beauties of the web is it has such a greater capacity to host this kind of catalog. I do think that artists today they ll benefit from having teams around them.
I think labels have a lot to offer. I think we re labels are doing now is there they re adapting so that their services are more geared towards what what s useful in the digital realm. I think that s what you re seeing inside labels big and small tim what about profits and pandora. The company is now profitable.
When do we get maybe an ipo well for a company in our position. A public offering might become one of the mechanisms. We can take advantage of but i think you know we re wise is to focus just on growth. We had this incredible opportunity in front of us right now where there s this migration.
That s accelerating from broadcast rio to web radio. You know from broadcast radio to personalized radio. And we re just a hundred percent focused on that focused on growth and we ll see what comes tim westergren. What are you listening to right now on pandora gosh.
I m all across the board. I listen to jazz funk blues pop music i m a piano player so i m a little bit i have some preference for piano bass music. But i m really all across the map all right i want to thank you very much tim westergren. He s the founder of pandora.
And the company s ” ..
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