With today’s report that Pandora founder Tim Westergren could be ready to step away from his role as CEO, it’s worth looking back over the last six months — the most eventful half year of Pandora’s history.
The year began with Pandora Premium still in the lab, though RAIN and other publishers did get a preview of the on-demand service in December at a New York media event. Pandora’s move into interactive music service represented a decision to compete directly with Spotify as a two-sided business offering both free (ad-supported) and paid service.
Pandora Premium launched in limited beta in March, then for real in April, proving itself to be an attractive, well-considered platform for existing Pandora radio users to wade into paying for fully on-demand music listening and collecting. The Q1 earnings report issued promising numbers for consumer uptake: 500,000 subscriber for a service that had barely launched.
then the Q2 earnings report came around, and Pandora was rocked with change. The board chair stepped down; the board structure was revised to allow further changes; new investment from KKR ($150M) was set; the company declared for the first time a clear determination to be acquired.
A full-out acquisition didn’t happen, but long-time coy suitor Sirius XM did buy 19% percent of Pandora for $450-million.
Here is a timeline of selected RAIN coverage:
APRIL 18: Pandora Premium goes to wide launch