I love Pandora music service — please help save it

One of the real advantages to living in the Bay Area is the access to smart people who ARE doing it for the love of what they do. Tom Conrad, CTO of Pandora, is one of those guys. They just announced a new mobile service as well as integration with Sonos. TechCrunch has the details on that.

But here Tom and I walk around San Francisco on a Saturday a week ago — both of us doing this on our own time. This is probably one of the more important videos I’ve done. Why? Because you should listen to Tom talking about how the business of Internet Radio is under pressure due to coming changes in how the music industry wants Internet Radio stations to pay for the distribution of music (basically the costs will triple, if the proposed changes go into effect). After we talk about the challenges that Pandora’s business faces if the fee changes go through Tom gives me a preview of their new Sprint/mobile service.

Just today the music industry tried to react to some of the concerns Tom is talking about, but they came up short. For one, how are they going to define what’s a “small” vs. “big” podcaster or Internet Radio station? If we don’t figure this out we’ll see most Internet music disappear. The costs are just going to be too high to keep going. Tom does the best job of explaining why we should care that I’ve heard so far. Hope you enjoy.

Pandora is a music service where you can put in a song, say AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells.” Then Pandora will bring you other music that is similar to that. It basically builds a radio station on the fly with music that matches your tastes.

UPDATE: If you only have eight minutes, instead of 30 for the full interview, check out our Editor’s Choice where you get just the highlights.

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Comments

  1. Yawn! I’m assuming Conrad never heard of Last.FM?

    The sucky thing about Pandora is that is seems to be restricted to the US. And seems to have a limited single artist play

  2. Yawn! I’m assuming Conrad never heard of Last.FM?

    The sucky thing about Pandora is that is seems to be restricted to the US. And seems to have a limited single artist play

  3. LayZ: yep, it is a US-only thing because of the licensing problems. He talks a little bit about that in the interview. The problems with licensing fees, though, will hit Last.FM too, though. Most of this interview is about that, not about Pandora.

  4. LayZ: yep, it is a US-only thing because of the licensing problems. He talks a little bit about that in the interview. The problems with licensing fees, though, will hit Last.FM too, though. Most of this interview is about that, not about Pandora.

  5. I was surprised to hear about a potential reprieve, given the lobbying influence (and dollars) of the labels. When I saw the narrow exception offered, I envisioned an immediate challenge for fund-raising for the great new emerging players out there. The ad revenue offset to the royalties is just not tenable math – the inventory just isn’t worth that much. I appreciate the noble cause tremendously here – I just think the stars aren’t aligned to pull it off. More input on our own experiences with the labels when we ran MusicNow at http://www.greatfallsventures.com

  6. I was surprised to hear about a potential reprieve, given the lobbying influence (and dollars) of the labels. When I saw the narrow exception offered, I envisioned an immediate challenge for fund-raising for the great new emerging players out there. The ad revenue offset to the royalties is just not tenable math – the inventory just isn’t worth that much. I appreciate the noble cause tremendously here – I just think the stars aren’t aligned to pull it off. More input on our own experiences with the labels when we ran MusicNow at http://www.greatfallsventures.com

  7. Hey Robert,
    The directors choice is good – I can now say I’ve actually watched one of your videos. :) Good work on the interview, but shame on you for not letting me in on the mobile pandora news when we met up to watch the fireworks.

    Anyway, the problems in the US are bad, but I’d say the ongoing problem of international licensing rights (which have led to Pandora blocking non-US IPs over the past week) is holding back internet radio and music in general just as much. Just look at how long it took Apple to bring the iTunes Music Store to Australia and then imagine how much more trouble smaller players like Pandora are going to have getting access to the Australian market.

    In the end, it really just hurts music. I discovered a lot of good stuff on Pandora while I was in the states the last couple of weeks but now I can’t even get to the list of songs I thumbed up to go buy them because I’m back in Australia.

  8. Hey Robert,
    The directors choice is good – I can now say I’ve actually watched one of your videos. :) Good work on the interview, but shame on you for not letting me in on the mobile pandora news when we met up to watch the fireworks.

    Anyway, the problems in the US are bad, but I’d say the ongoing problem of international licensing rights (which have led to Pandora blocking non-US IPs over the past week) is holding back internet radio and music in general just as much. Just look at how long it took Apple to bring the iTunes Music Store to Australia and then imagine how much more trouble smaller players like Pandora are going to have getting access to the Australian market.

    In the end, it really just hurts music. I discovered a lot of good stuff on Pandora while I was in the states the last couple of weeks but now I can’t even get to the list of songs I thumbed up to go buy them because I’m back in Australia.

  9. I’m interning here on the hill, and I have to say, I wish more leg staff were paying more attention to this. I guess it is getting swept under the rug by some because it isn’t a ‘big’ issue standalone, but I wish more people would write, fax in–form letters and blanket calls are almost always useless, and constituent responses are sometimes pointless, too, so I guess I don’t even know what to say! When the save internet radio groups were here weeks ago they tried pretty hard but I don’t know how optimistic they were. Uphill battle and all. Absurd.

  10. I’m interning here on the hill, and I have to say, I wish more leg staff were paying more attention to this. I guess it is getting swept under the rug by some because it isn’t a ‘big’ issue standalone, but I wish more people would write, fax in–form letters and blanket calls are almost always useless, and constituent responses are sometimes pointless, too, so I guess I don’t even know what to say! When the save internet radio groups were here weeks ago they tried pretty hard but I don’t know how optimistic they were. Uphill battle and all. Absurd.