The Relevant History
... that hopefully portends the future.
To understand why Pandora often moves at such a frustratingly slow pace, you must understand its core focus. What brought the company to the dance. The now better understood bread and butter that, with Wall Street, all of a sudden, hopping aboard, renders my predictions of $P to $100 much less silly.
I methodically outline the object of the aforementioned focus in Here's Why Pandora Keeps Crushing The Market.Condensed takeaway: Pandora is, has been and always will be hyper-focused on two things -- personalized radio and music discovery as listener platforms. There's nothing wrong with that; however, it is not and should not be, by its own words and admission, where Pandora stops. Pandora has, intentionally and by virtue of its music industry-changing success, assumed greater responsibility ... responsibility that goes beyond its stated mission to "play only music you'll love." That's where the data comes in. Data that transcends thumbs. Pandora already uses it to serve two primary ends:
- To sell advertising; and
- to further connect music fans to the music (and musicians) they love via Pandora Presents personalized concerts.
Filling In The BlanksFor several years now, Pandora, led by co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren, has been talking about using the data it collects to super serve artists. For instance, google "Tim Westergren" and "heat maps." You'll get results that date back to 2012. Maybe earlier. You'll see that Westergren was part of a panel at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (the event took place more than a year ago now) where he discussed using Pandora data to help musicians better route tours. On iTunes, you can even find Westergren visioning what Pandora could/might do someday ... (cue Keith Olbermann voice) way back in April of 2008. It all sounds fantastic. The possibilities are limitless. And they extend beyond the notion of touring heat maps. However, unless Pandora is providing this data to acts and bands in secrecy (and I'm not sure why it would do that), it hasn't unleashed this data at any meaningful scale for anything other than advertising-related purposes. By refusing to put the power of its data to work for the music industry (labels, performers, songwriters) as well as brands that seek to sell product, at least in part, with music, Pandora does a disservice to these parties and itself. It's not as if Pandora doesn't have data products. They do. I have seen it.
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