The future of Pandora

Pandora founder and chief strategy officer Tim Westergren sat down and spoke with us about the company behind the music. Pandora looks to take music listening to a new level. Pandora strives to help listeners get the most out music by providing them with playlists that are more tailored to their musical preferences.  But there is more to the company than just the music.

In the beginning, Pandora had absolutely no marketing budget or advertising. The company didn’t even have a PR team until about three or four years in. So how did Pandora become the most listened to Internet radio company? The foundation of Pandora was built entirely upon word of mouth.

Westergren emphasized the importance of communicating beyond the computer. “There is no substitution for in-person communication,” he said. “Spending time on face-to-face consumer interaction is invaluable for defining your brand.”Pandora continues to further its in-person communication by holding town hall style meetings that have become a staple in their business model. The company believes that the best way to improve what it’s  doing is to hear opinions from the people who use its product every day. Pandora also continues to build the trust of listeners by responding personally to every email it receives.

So is this more personal communication style working? Absolutely. When Westergren asked the audience how many people listen to Pandora, every hand went up. The smile on Westergren’s face could not have been any bigger, not because he was thinking of dollar signs, but because he knew the company he founded had reached so many people.

“That there is my reward,” he said. “After awhile, money is completely unimportant. What is really satisfying is if you love what you do.”

Kate Wickwire
Director of Programming
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