Home Pop Culture Tim Westergren- ‘Pandora’s,’ bearer of hope and curiosity..?

Tim Westergren- ‘Pandora’s,’ bearer of hope and curiosity..?



TW: What we got was a 40-50% reduction from 2007 rates.  In the internet radio industry, rates are imposed either as a per song minimum—the salient term—or 25% of revenue, whichever is higher.  It’s an extraordinarily high royalty rate.  When you’re in the copyright business, you’re really signing up for a lifetime of “discussion” on the subject.  

SCV: By discussion, I suppose, you mean exhaustive litigation? 

TW: Well, the last time Pandora was a part of the “discussion,” we were a relatively new site. We will definitely be more active in 2015, and yes, we’ll still be around!  We have been establishing credibility and relationships with people across the aisle, with rights holders, with Indi labels, with some of the major musicians.  Sites like Pandora, where music is the main focus, are the lifeblood for many of these artists. It’s important to get support from all corners of the musical ecosystem, and we’ve been doing that. 

SCV: I personally use Pandora to source new music which I then rip off from a number of downloading sites to put on my iPod. What do you think of sites like Limewire, Frostwire, etc., that encourage users to download tracks free of charge?   

TW: They’re wrong.  I’m a former musician; of course I’m going to say that people should pay for their music. There are artists who don’t care; who are happy for the exposure, but it should be the choice of the artist, not the audience.  We promote fair commerce discreetly on our site, making purchases through iTunes and Amazon easy.  The truth is that the industry has been wrestling with this problem for a while. 

SCV: It’s a problem that I don’t think will ever go away.  No matter how loudly they complain, bands cannot stop what Napster started—free proliferation of music.  Is there a silver lining here?  I harbor the romantic notion that the industry will be purified—musicians have to start selling concert tickets; if you’re an auditory nightmare on stage then you don’t deserve to sell CDs, (where the real artists are the mixers, synthesizers and other high tech equipment) right?  Where is the industry going now? 

TW: I’ve been a musician all my life and it has actually been much harder for me to try to sound good on a record.  Some bands are studio bands, and others are made for the live performance.  This will be one of the more interesting aspects of the musical revolution.  Artists can no longer rely on CD sales and acts that are better live will have a comparative advantage.  A lot of people are preparing themselves; they have to be road warriors.   

SCV: What was the last concert you went to?   

TW: Blind Pilot.  They actually played here, at Pandora. 

SCV: Why did you choose the name Pandora?

Truthfully, we really liked the story.  Who can’t get behind an insatiably curious woman with an attitude?  The box was full of surprises, and she was considered to be a gifted musician.  Although a variety of evils came from the box once it was opened, hope was left inside.  We like that..