I spent a few minutes talking with Tim Westergren today while he chatted his way through what must have been dozens of press calls. He told me he’s been surprised over and over again by Pandora‘s success and the passion people feel about the service. “Music is such a passion” he told me, and “people really love the way they can create their perfect personalized listening experience at Pandora.”
A sharp focus on what they have to do each day along with a dedication to their long term view are the things that have brought them to this point, and he doesn’t expect that to change now that they are a public company. What’s the long term view? A global service where billions of listeners can consume and connect with music and artists can find and develop audience. Westergren talked about the shift in radio listening from broadcast to personalized radio and the way that can accomodate many more artists. As a musician, he knows that’s a good thing.
He’s not worried about Spotify or Google Music Beta, or other on demand or cloud services taking listeners away from Pandora either. “Any service that is about listening to your collection is complimentary to Pandora.” he said, adding “People listen to their music collections and still listen to radio and that’s not going to change.”
I asked him if today marks his most significant accomplishment, to which he firmly told me it did not. He said he’s happy to pause and appreciate the win that today represents, but he was mostly feeling gratitude today – for employees, advertisers, investors, musicians and listeners. All part of the Pandora story.
By the time I spoke with him, Westergren had no doubt been on calls just like mine for several hours, answering the same or similar questions over and over again which is probably why he sounded a little rehearsed. I didn’t mind, in fact I was happy to chat and congratulate him and celebrate my own visions for the industry.