A Pandora timeline: The first six months of 2017

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:

JANUARY 6: Sirius XM CFO says chance of Pandora acquisition is “not likely”

JANUARY 12: Pandora layoffs affect seven percent of the company

FEBRUARY 3: Sirius XM posts strong earnings; denies interest in Pandora

MARCH 2: Pandora stock yanked around in Sirius XM dance

MARCH 13: Pandora Premium launches in limited release

APRIL 18: Pandora Premium goes to wide launch

MAY 9: Q1 earnings; Pandora raises $150M; changes board structure; chairman exits

JUNE 9: Sirius XM invests $480-million in Pandora

JUNE 9: Pandora sells Ticketfly for $250M loss

JUNE 19: Tim Westergren (reportedly) ready to step away from CEO role


Brad Hill