Barely 10 days ago pay-radio operator SiriusXM invested $480 million into US streaming service Pandora. On June 27th Pandora confirmed what the industry had rumoured for a few days, that its CEO – and co-founder – Tim Westergren, had “stepped down”. The senior-level changes are far from over.
SiriusXM now owns 19 per cent of Pandora, and importantly have 3 seats on the streamer’s Board of directors.
Also out are Pandora’s President Mike Herring and CMO Nick Bartle. In comes a new CEO, Naveen Chopra (who was Pandora’s CFO) on a temporary basis while a permanent CEO is recruited. Another well-known industry name, Jason Hirschhorn has joined the Board. Hirschhorn has been closely involved in MTV, and then with stints at MySpace and Sling Media.
It is far from clear – as yet – as to what SiriusXM’s long-term intentions are for Pandora. SiriusXM is itself controlled by Liberty Media, and their overall intention is always to create shareholder value, and profits. The message at this time is that the business is being “refocused and reinforced”.
There are plenty of people listening to Pandora’s ‘free’ service, but only 4.7 million paying for its ad-free premium service. Between them Spotify and Apple’s subscription offerings have 70 million fans.