Pandora, which was introduced in 2005, became by far the most popular internet radio service, using a proprietary "music genome" technology that analyzed the musical characteristics of songs its users liked, and fed them more of them.
Pandora had 4.7 million paying subscribers at the end of March, while Spotify said it had more than 50 million. That will give Sirius XM, famous for being the home of Howard Stern, a 16% stake in Pandora. The CEO of digital content company the ReDEF Group is well known in media business circles from his work as MTV Networks' Chief Digital Officer, President of Sling Media, and co-President of Myspace.
The tech news site Recode reported late Sunday that Westergren will step down as chief executive of the online radio company. At the time, Michael Herring also joined as CFO, while Nicholas Bartle came on as chief marketing officer in October.
In a prepared statement, Westergren said he was "incredibly proud" of Pandora, a company he co-founded in San Francisco in 2000.More news: Outstanding Leaders in today's market: The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO)
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"Over the past several weeks, the board has taken a number of steps to refocus and reinforce Pandora", board member Roger Faxon said in the statement. The company, which went public in 2011, amassed almost 80 million listeners each month, and built a substantial online advertising business, topping $1 billion past year.
Since then, Westergren has spearheaded the launch of Pandora's interactive streaming efforts, including its $9.99-a-month on-demand service Pandora Premium. With these in place, plus a strengthened balance sheet, I believe Pandora is perfectly poised for its next chapter.
Taylor Swift also announced recently that she was settling her differences with streaming services, which should help both Pandora and its competitors.