Students of digital music history will enjoy Vice’s feature on the earlier days of streaming service Pandora, including (told from the perspective of the company’s founders) its battles over licensing.
There’s lots of interesting detail, but the section on how Pandora was unsettled by Spotify in the early 2000s is particularly good. “This very significant pebble in our shoe of what to do about Spotify and the on-demand business,” as former CEO Joe Kennedy describes it.
Founder Tim Westergren expresses regret about not pivoting faster from personalised radio into full on-demand streaming. “I think that we still squandered an enormous opportunity having survived all [those settlement negotiations] by not pivoting to on-demand fast enough,” he said. “We should have done what Spotify did and ate a pound of flesh to get the industry on our side, then expanded the scope of the product and then really gone global and become an all-you-can-eat service.”
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