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Sell Pandora: It's About to Become a Thing of the Past

A couple days later, Pandora worked more PR spin. This time on me. You can read the smoke and mirrors Pandora pulled with respect to its plans to leverage (or not) the full power of its data in Exposing a Pandora Article That Reads Like a Press Release.

Finally, this past Thursday, two bizarre things went down that even people who can see still see the turnip truck's brake lights could see right through.

First, Pandora took us all for fools with the way it spun its decision to stop reporting monthly listener metrics. Pandora told us that it had only been releasing these numbers for advertisers. And now that advertisers can see how Pandora ranks against broadcast radio in other, more formal ways, there's no longer a need to reveal the statistics every thirty days.


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You know as well as I -- and so does Pandora -- that the company made these numbers public for investors, not just advertisers. In fact, I would argue it was more a vehicle to drive positive thoughts in the investment community than the advertising one.

But now that it's more difficult to explain moderating growth (which really doesn't negatively impact Pandora's core narrative), Pandora doesn't see the need to be quite as transparent quite as often like it was when it was growing exponentially.

We might be stupid, but we're not dumb. And we're sure as heck not going to fall for typical tricks borne out of corporate PR departments.

But the award for complete cluelessness, total inanity and pathetic smoke and mirrors goes to Pandora's new CEO Brian McAndrews. If he actually believes what he said Thursday about Spotify's purchase of The Echo Nest the man is certifiably inane and not fit to lead Pandora.

On a conference call to spin the decision to stop reporting the monthly listener data, McAndrews said ...

We don't see (the deal) as a significant development for us ...

That comment could mean one or more of several things. But from any perspective it holds that McAndrews is nuts or simply jive talking us.

If the development is not significant because Pandora doesn't care about doing something with its data other than using it to sell targeted advertising, then I guess McAndrews made a technically correct, even if horribly misguided statement.

If it's not significant because McAndrews thinks it's immaterial to Pandora's business then he doesn't understand A) what Pandora's business is and B) what Pandora's business not only should be, but absolutely has to be going forward if it wants to maintain its stronghold as Internet radio's unprecedented leader.

If Pandora's talking about the Spotify/The Echo Nest hookup internally at more than a surface level -- which I have to think it is -- McAndrews could give Netflix's (NFLX) Reed Hastings a run for his money as top jive-talking CEO.

I'll get into how all the bizarreness connects to Pandora's business model later in this article, but first ... something positive, which makes part of the aforementioned bizarreness even more bizarre.

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