Pandora’s Tim Westergren looks forward: “Exclusives are a losing battle”

tim westergrenPandora CEO Tim Westergren gave investors first hints about what the forthcoming on-demand platform will look like. He gave a presentation at the Citigroup Global Technology conference in New York and shared some of the philosophy driving the creation of the new product.

“We’re not approaching this from a me-too mentality,” he said. “It’s not going to be what’s come before us.” Those predecessors are the current industry leaders, Spotify and Apple Music. Both offer on-demand, ad-free listening for $10 a month, and Apple is leaning heavily on securing exclusives thanks to building artist relationships.

Westergren explained how Pandora’s service would diverge from that current standard. He noted that the plan was to launch a multi-tier service with at least two price points; analysts have previously pegged those two tiers as $5 per month and $10 per month, both ad-free.

He also shot down the exclusive releases approach, calling them “a losing battle.” Rather than hooking listeners with unique content, he’s doubling down new ideas. “It takes innovation in the user experience, which I think Pandora is going to bring.”

He did not share a release date for the planned service, but the markets have still generally responded well to the update. Pandora’s shares increased 0.8% on Wednesday afternoon, reaching $14.63. The company’s shares have been on the rise since the start of the year, with Tim Westergren stepping back in to the top position in late March.

Anna Washenko