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Popular streaming radio service Pandora plans to stop offering its service in New Zealand and Australia, a spokesperson told Billboard this afternoon. Australia and New Zealand are currently the only non-U.S. locations where the company operates, and Pandora has decided to focus its business solely on the United States.
A Pandora spokesperson told Billboard that after much analysis, it was decided to discontinue operations in the two countries over the next few weeks. "While our experience in these markets reinforces the broader global opportunity long-term, in the short-term we must remain laser-focused on the expansion of our core business in the United States," the rep said.
Pandora plans to begin shutting down operations in the two countries over the course of the next few weeks, which means its international offices in those locations will be shuttered. Pandora has somewhere around 5 million listeners in Australia and New Zealand, and it employs approximately 60 people at its offices in Australia.

pandora-premium-800x460.jpg

As Pandora prepares to pull out of Australia and New Zealand, Pandora founder Tim Westergren today stepped down from his position as CEO, also exiting the company's board of directors. Pandora president Mike Herring and CMO Nick Bartle are also leaving the company.

In a statement, Westergren, who has twice left his role as CEO over the years, said Pandora is "perfectly poised for its next chapter." Under his leadership, Pandora launched its "Pandora Premium" on-demand streaming service and got a major investment from SiriusXM.
Westergren said, "I am incredibly proud of the company we have built. We invented a whole new way of enjoying and discovering music and in doing so, forever changed the listening experience for millions. I came back to the CEO role last year to drive transformation across the business. We accomplished far more than we anticipated. We rebuilt Pandora's relationships with the music industry; launched a fantastic Premium on-demand service, and brought a host of tech innovations to our advertising business. With these in place, plus a strengthened balance sheet, I believe Pandora is perfectly poised for its next chapter."
As of Q1 2017 [PDF], Pandora had 4.71 million subscribers across its Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium subscription options, and more than 80 million active users. Until March, Pandora didn't offer a service that competed with Apple Music, but Pandora Premium is seeing significant early interest, with 500,000 trial subscriptions during its first weeks of availability.

Apple Music now has more than 27 million subscribers, a new number shared by Apple on June 5.

Article Link: Pandora Ending Operations in New Zealand and Australia as CEO Steps Down
 

Tapiture

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Oct 1, 2016
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Unfortunately I think Pandora is being pushed out by Apple and Spotify. This sector was the last competitive part of the tech industry and now it is finally being narrowed down.
 
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sykeward

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Jul 22, 2016
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Pandora seems to be fairly polarizing. I know many folks love it but I tried it twice and could never get it dialed in to music I was interested in. Apple Music and Napster/Rhapsody both work much better for me in that regard. That said, I hope they are successful in their attempt to refocus, it would be a real loss for music fans if they just faded away.
 

dan110

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Jul 13, 2013
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I wish Apple would've bought Pandora instead of Beats. Pandora has a better product that Beats. They could've easily made better hardware on their own. Or worked with Bose to cobranded or codevelop headphones with amazing sound quality.
 
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Scottsoapbox

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Oct 10, 2014
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Nailed it .

Their playlists were great, have yet to see this on Spotify or Apple Music.

Yeah I liked Spotify's ability to find any song but using a popular Playlist for background party music failed one too many times for me.
 

friednoodles

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Feb 4, 2014
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Pandora has somewhere around 5 million listeners in Australia and New Zealand, and it employs approximately 60 people at its offices in Australia.

That's 5 million registered users. I wonder how many were active?

They no longer report the total of registered users globally, but if we use the total from 2014 (250m) and the current active users from 2017 (76m) to find the percentage, 30% of registered users are active (and since the global total of registered users is now undoubtedly much higher, 30% is being very optimistic - it may be a significantly lower percentage). So it'd be more in the range of 1 to 1.5 million active users across Australia and New Zealand... probably hard to attract the big advertisers needed to make the free tier sustainable.

It's a tough market if you have a free tier that relies on advertising, with only a few percent of users opting to pay. It's a shame to see it not doing well when there were definitely good aspects to it.
 
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friednoodles

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My guess is that most of the staff there were responsible for local legal stuff with the recording companies and tax/company law, selling ad campaigns on the service to local companies, and for public advertising of the service itself. I'd imagine accounts support was handled by the US/online unless they charged in AUD/NZD.
 

Solomani

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The question I want to know is why they even had an office in Australia with 60 people - what did they do? why couldn't they just operate out of the United States?

Maybe overseas tax evasion? All the other tech companies do it. So why not Pandora?
 

actcyclist

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Jun 10, 2017
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Pandora in Australia is better known as a retailer of tizzy charms. Maybe the reporter got a bit mixed up on this story, there can't be 5 million listeners out of 24 million.
 

friednoodles

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Feb 4, 2014
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Maybe the reporter got a bit mixed up on this story, there can't be 5 million listeners out of 24 million.

The figure seems suspiciously high to me too, even if it's registered users rather than active users, especially since I've never heard anyone outside techie friends mention Pandora. (as opposed to Netflix, which you hear people talking about constantly)

I did some checking and the number came directly from Pandora Australia/NZ's managing director, who quit in March and mentioned 5 million registered users at the time. But it seems like an impossibly high number.
 

nburwell

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May 6, 2008
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I remember when Pandora was immensely popular (prior to the introduction of on-demand music streaming).

I signed up for a free month of Pandora Premium to see if it was any good. After about a day, I cancelled it. The radio portion still isn't terrible, but I'll take Spotify and SiriusXM any day for my music needs.
 

MrNomNoms

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Jan 25, 2011
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Maybe overseas tax evasion? All the other tech companies do it. So why not Pandora?

I would have thought that since the margins are so slim that needlessly opening up new offices would be the last thing one would want to do when it comes to cutting costs. To me it sounds like the office in Australia was a vanity project more than a situation of it actually meeting a requirement.
 
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