After years of inciting resentment from within the music world, it would appear that Pandora is attempting to change its image. The one-time disrupter, now helmed by CEO Brian McAndrews, known for fighting Congress in hopes of protecting its profits (publishers only receive 4 percent of the company’s revenue), is trying to make friends within the industry.
McAndrews claims that he wants to listen to what the industry has to say and work together. To this end, he has recently hired several vets from different areas of the industry who have together, launched a campaign to put a new face on the company. As part of this strategy, Pandora plans to put on 79 free concerts in 2014 with performers such as Iggy Azalea, Celine Dion, and Magic, based on geo-targeted listening data, which identifies locations with concentrations of fans, as detailed in the article from Adweek linked below. In addition, the company has recently signed a direct (United States) licensing and marketing deals with indie-label collective Merlin and publisher BMG, as noted in the LA Times.
Still, experts are divided. While some are impressed, RIAA VP Mitch Glazier is quoted as calling this a “turning point” in Pandora’s evolution, many remain unconvinced. David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association, has referred to these moves as “lip service” saying “They’ve done nothing differently to address the actual reason they’re so unpopular in the music industry.”
More on Pandora’s efforts to reach out to the music industry: Billboard: Pandora Playing Nice or Paying Lip Service
Learn how data is used to target audiences for the Pandora concert series: How Pandora Mined Data to Create Lexus-Backed Concert Series
Article that details the agreement between Merlin and Pandora: Pandora partners with Merlin in first direct record label deal