2013 was a good year for Pandora in terms of growth, a variable one in terms of its share price fluctuations, and a very bad one in terms of public relations, particularly when it came to artists and songwriters.
So is Pandora the bad guy? Unsurprisingly, founder Tim Westergren disagrees. “The industry has for a long time been propped up by a product where you’re paying $20 for something you really wanted to pay $1 for. Maybe you could argue that the bad guy was the one who made that possible?” he said during an on-stage interview at CES hosted by the PandoDaily site. Instead, Westergren had some advice for artists: “The key is for artists to begin thinking of themselves as small businesses: I gotta develop my audience, I gotta find ways to make that audience large and get them to contribute in small ways to patronise me. I think the Web is well suited for that, but it’s not easy.” Pandora CTO Tom Conrad pointed the finger at consumers, too: “$3 or $5 or $8 or $10 a month for a music service is really really hard for people in this country to come up with it seems, but they’ll happily pay $60, $70, $80, $90 a month for their cable television.”