A podcast by students of Stanford University's Business and Design Schools


Monday, April 23, 2007

Tim Westergren, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Pandora

Tim Westergren
is the founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Pandora, a music recommendation service built on the Music Genome Project and a poster child for resilience in the volatile world of Silicon Valley startups.

MP3 File | Subscribe via iTunes | Add to del.icio.us

Tim shares insightful anecdotes and thoughts from Pandora's colorful and instructive past seven years: innovations around music discovery and a "drop-dead simple" user interface, Pandora's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"-esque struggle for survival, its explosion of viral audience growth, and most recently, the Copyright Royalty Tribunal's contentious decision to hike up the royalties for Internet radio.

Pandora is fighting back against the ruling, as it staves off criticism of the Project's scalability. Tim addresses all these, as well as the slow death of music retail businesses, and the impact of music recommendation services such as Pandora on the livelihood independent musicians.

Special thanks to Sarah Bennett, our videographer extraordinaire, Min Liu, who masterfully navigated through evening rush hour traffic, and iinnovate listener Ethan B who helped with our audio quality--check out the interview in video alongside an inside look at Pandora's headquarters.

- Min Li Chan and Owen Tripp

Update (May 3, 2007): In the fight against the Copyright Tribunal's decision to hike up royalties for Internet radio, Pandora is starting down the bumpy road of international expansion this year. While Tim talks about scalability issues around the Music Genome Project and international expansion in our podcast, Techcrunch today reveals that Pandora has begun preventing access to Pandora's streaming service for most countries outside of the U.S., due to international licensing constraints. Mike Arrington of Techcrunch notes:

"Pandora operates under Section 114 of the DMCA, which gives them a clear process for paying rights holders in the U.S. There is no international equivalent of the DMCA, and so to operate legally in other countries, Pandora must sign deals with rights holders directly. That means separate deals with labels and publishers for each song, an extremely difficult and time consuming task."

We're keeping our fingers crossed for resilient Pandora, as they navigate through new murky waters. -MLC


Jason Salas said...

I'm having trouble downloading the MP3...can you re-post? Thanks!

MLC said...

We've fixed the link to our MP3 file--our apologies for the temporary technical snag. Thanks for the comment, Jason.

Jason Salas said...

Thanks! You guys are doing a great job...keep up the good work!

Professor Howdy said...

Very good posting.
Thank you - Have a good day!!!

Renegade said...

Good job!

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for this interesting post post

Oberon said...

.....true inovation would have something to do with saving the planet......keep working.

CHR said...

Did he really said only 100,000 songs are played in radio's history?

J.D. said...

Cool blog, congrats on the 'Blog of Note!' You deserve it.

Great blog, interesting, love the name. Lowercase i's all the way baby!


Good blog
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Nerfsmith said...

I've always loved Pandora. It turned me onto music I never would've found otherwise, and they really did do a great job with the interface. I hope they pull through this intact.