Pandora Today and Tomorrow – Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy (Part 2)

This is part two of my two-part conversation with Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy (you can find part one here).

By far the best known player in the online radio field, Pandora has now topped 75 million registered users.  And with its introduction into Detroit’s auto cycle the obvious question is:  How high is up?

Here are some of the questions Joe and I address in this conversation:

  1. Just how customized is Pandora’s advertising?
  2. How critical is that initial registration in providing value to advertisers?
  3. How much of the advertising is national, regional, and local?
  4. What can terrestrial broadcasters learn from Pandora?
  5. Do you see broadcast radio and Pandora as competitors or as media which can peacefully coexist?
  6. What is the purpose that drives you and the crew at Pandora as you start each day?

Pay special attention to the answer to that last question.  Because that driving purpose, that emotion-packed mission that a team, a staff, a company can get behind, that’s why Pandora is destined for success.  There never has been a company which can sustain success without this kind of passion.  I hope it lives and breathes in your ranks.

Look for more in Part 1.

Enjoy this probing and thoughtful conversation (click below).

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  • Seasonalbrew

    What of the enormous amount of folks who don't put in their correct age, gender, et al if not out of just wanting to be anonymous, just not caring, or not wanting to give free metrics to these companies? What of the multitude who create a new login each time? How much confidence do we put behind who we think is listening? I was astounded by the mass numbers of students doing this.

  • Well, 75 million mostly right registrations unquestionably beat almost zero mostly right ones, which is what the average broadcaster has.

    What you're talking about is not unique to Pandora and is a function of all registrations for all parties. We still need to ask the question: Is this not better than “dumb” advertising, where you have a 100% certainty of knowing nothing. And my answer is a big yes.

    You also need to take into account the registrations that are enabled through Facebook, where folks have an incentive to be true in their responses about such things.

    Also, the results of these campaigns are measured. These are not “pray and spray” efforts characteristic of most old media. Measurement results trump age precision.

    Finally, there should be a trade of value for value: If I give you my age accurately it's because I get something which requires that accurate age in return. Pandora does not do this today (off the top of my head, I think Facebook does it best). This will invariably change in time.

  • Joe's suggestion that all radio needs to do is “refocus,” as it did when TV came along, was my favorite part.

  • Dick Jenkins

    Hearing this insight from Pandora, reminds me of sitting in the office of a radio station p.d in San Francisco in the early 1970's and hearing about “call out” music research. Once you see “where the puck is going” (to quote the famous hockey analogy) the obvious questions is… “Now what are you going to do now that you have this information?” As radio stations we still have a great opportunity to drive great numbers of people to our websites, which is something Pandora can't do. There is still time to change the “pucks” direction to our team.

  • Thanks for the comment, Dick!

  • Yes, it requires recognizing the difference between “in” and “out of” focus.

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