Pandora's Westergren Not Worried About New Competitors
July 2, 2013

In a new interview this week, Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren says he is not worried about new digital music competition from Apple and Google. Speaking to the Financial Times, Westergren said, "I think we are on Pandora killer number eight by my count. I donít mean to sound arrogant by saying that. We take every competitor seriously... But history has taught us that focus counts for a lot."

He continued, "We are the best builders of personalized playlists. I donít think people get how hard it is to do that really well."

The FT also revealed that their interview took place just prior to "a crucial meeting on Monday with music industry representatives following its latest row over royalty payments," which would likely refer to last week's report that Pandora would begin formal negotiations with various organizations over its royalty rates.

Westergren told the paper that despite the company's recent, public issues with royalties, he predicts Pandora's overall royalty payments will continue to rise. "Our goal is to have those total payments go up," Westergren said, "Every hour [of listening] from broadcast radio to the web is [new] money for artists. Itís nothing but good news."

Last week, Westergren also wrote an extensive blog post explaining Pandora's position on criticisms of its royalty payments, calling the critiques the result of "a deliberate and orchestrated campaign funded by the RIAA, and ... well-intentioned artists who, because of this misinformation campaign, have been mislead about Pandoraís intentions."




 
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Jon Zellner
SVPP, iHeartMedia

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