Tyler Hayes, writing for Vice:
For a few years in the late 2000s, Pandora was the on-demand DJ for tens of millions of people, creating the soundtrack to college dorm room parties, quiet coffee shops, busy kitchens, and family get-togethers. The days of building massive MP3 music collections through file-sharing was receding quickly into the past, and instead the shared experience of radio was making a comeback via the clever algorithmic matchmaking of Pandora’s endlessly customizable stations based on individual taste. Today it’s a feature we take for granted across every music service, even if Pandora’s implementation still seems like it was the best. Pandora itself, however, can feel like an afterthought. Betamax to Spotify’s VHS, or maybe more accurately, MySpace to on-demand streaming’s Facebook.
Apple Music and Pandora have also stopped promoting R. Kelly on their platforms:
Now, a source close to the matter tells Pitchfork that Apple Music also begun to stop promoting R. Kelly in featured playlists over the past several weeks. The decision was made quietly, and it pre-dates Spotify’s announcement. Kelly’s music has been pulled from Apple Music-curated playlists such as “Best Slow Jams of the 90s, Vol. 1” and Vol. 2. (Kelly is prominently featured in the artwork for the playlists, but his music is no longer in them.)
I want a “block artist” button on Apple Music (and Spotify). Something that I can click to keep an artist from ever showing up at all, anywhere, on the platform. Maybe even granular control so you could check one box to just block that artist everywhere, and another if you still want their “features” to appear in the tracklists for albums you listen to.
I also think that these services should start looking into informing listeners on artist pages about things that someone may want to know before listening to an artist. These pages already have biographies on them, why not include the facts about abuse allegations as well?
Keith Nelson Jr. sat down with Pandora’s vice president of global content licensing, Elizabeth Moody, to talk about streaming services, the future of music licensing, and the inherent issues these services are seeing trying to turn a profit:
I think that it’s going to take a shift in the structure of the industry to really allow digital services like Spotify or other competitors to have a fully sustainable business. You see pure-play services like Spotify and Pandora suffering while there are companies like Amazon and Google and Apple that can use music as a loss leader for other services. […] I mean, right now, the record labels (and then the music publishers) are really taking the lion’s share of the revenue. You know, sometimes the artists or others will argue it’s getting stuck at the labels. I think it’s a more complicated problem than just saying, “Oh they’re not paying the artists.”
Tim Ingham, writing for Music Business Worldwide:
Pandora has posted net losses of $473.6m so far in a ‘transformative’ 2017 – which has seen it part ways with CEO Tim Westergren and other top execs, as well as the sale of its Ticketfly business to Eventbrite.
Although this figure includes a one-time Q2 goodwill impairment write down of $132m related to the net assets of Ticketfly (and other one-time expenses), it’s a very alarming indication of the firm’s long-term sustainability.
As it, it doesn’t have any sustainability.
It now looks almost guaranteed that Pandora, which lost $90m in Q4 2016, will post net losses in excess of half a billion dollars in this calendar year.
That seems bad.
Peter Kafka, writing for Recode:
Pandora co-founder and CEO Tim Westergren plans to step down as the streaming music company’s leader, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.
Pandora hasn’t selected a replacement for Westergren, sources say; he will likely stay on at the company he founded 17 years ago until a new CEO is in place.
PayPal is taking Pandora to court over their new similar logo:
The digital-payment company says Pandora’s big blue “P,” unveiled in October, damages its business because customers are mistakenly opening the wrong app on their phones.
“I was a little confused when I opened PayPal and Barenaked Ladies started playing,” one PayPal customer tweeted.
Pandora Premium is now available to all users, TechCrunch reports:
The service itself is essentially Pandora’s own spin on on-demand music, offering a combination of radio-like listening as well as the ability to search and play any track and build playlists. It costs $9.99 per month, which is in line with other offerings on the market today, including Spotify and Apple Music.
Pandora has announced signups for their new premium service:
To do this, we took advantage of two of our core strengths: our unrivaled understanding of music via the Music Genome Project and the massive amount of data we have from 81 million listeners just like you – things like station adds, thumbs (we have more than 75 billion!), searches and skips.
The result is Pandora Premium: a combination of the Pandora radio you already love, the ability to search and play any track or album and a set of playlist features tailored to your preferences. It’s totally unique to you, easy to use and loaded with amazing features for $9.99 / month.
Billboard has announced they will start adding in Pandora streaming data to their song charts:
Billboard and Pandora today (Jan. 30) announced an exclusive agreement that will add influential Pandora streaming data to the Billboard Hot 100, the world’s preeminent songs chart. The Hot 100 ranks the week’s most popular songs across all genres, determined by a formula blending track sales, radio airplay and streaming, as measured by Nielsen Music, now along with Pandora’s exclusive streaming data, as well.
Pandora will be laying off seven percent of its US workforce:
Westergren went on to say that the company is “prioritizing the highest value opportunities and deprioritizing others” without elaborating further about the areas affected by the cuts. A spokesperson declined to share more details on the subject. Ticketfly, the company’s online ticketing service, will not be affected by the layoffs.
Pandora has unveiled its new on-demand music streaming service dubbed “Pandora Premium.”
It isn’t a secret that Pandora was planning to launch a full-fledged Spotify competitor. The company said as much last year when it bought Rdio, which had filed for bankruptcy. But today, at a lavish event in New York City, Pandora gave a small group of VIPs and reporters a look at the new streaming service. It’s called Pandora Premium, and, as you’d expect, it offers on-demand access to a massive music catalo. And it looks a lot like Rdio, from the brief glance we have seen so far. But Pandora is leveraging the years of information it has about how its users listen to music to provide the all-important recommendations necessary to help people find new songs to listen to.
Pandora has launched Pandora Plus. Here’s Micah Singleton, at The Verge:
As expected, Pandora has launched Pandora Plus, a rebranded and improved version of its $5-a-month Pandora One offering. It also has enhanced its free, ad-supported service, which the majority of its users take advantage of. The release of the updated services marks the beginning of a new era for Pandora, as the company will end 2016 with three tiers of service and an on-demand service to compete against Spotify and Apple Music.
I clicked over to Pandora to check it out, but since they are still relying on Adobe Flash for their website, that’s a non-starter.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Pandora is looking to get into the on-demand streaming game:
Pandora Media Inc. is aiming to start expanding its internet-radio service as soon as next month, offering its hallmark free tier as well as two new monthly subscription options that will mark its foray into on-demand music streaming, said people familiar with the matter.
Can they fix their shitty Flash based web app and awful streaming quality first?