Pandora is launching a series of free concerts for their listeners, the personalized radio service announced Thursday.
The first free show is set for Dec. 13 in Portland, Ore., and Pandora tapped emerging L.A. rock outfit Dawes for the gig.
Invitations for the series were issued based on each listener's specified musical preferences judging off the stations they created on Pandora or the songs they've given a thumbs up.
Slacker, the online radio service, is launching its long-awaited premium on-demand music service on Tuesday that lets subscribers listen to any of the 8 million songs in its catalog for about $10 a month.
The service, which competes with similar offerings from Rhapsody, Rdio, and MOG, is available on most iPhones, iPads, BlackBerries and smart phones that use the Android operating system. To entice folks to try out the new service, Slacker is giving away a limited number of subscriptions to those who visit its Facebook page.
Slacker's push into the on-demand business make the field potentially more competitive for Spotify, a popular European online music service that has been trying for over a year to get the necessary licenses from music labels and publishers to launch its service in the U.S., the world's biggest music market.
Pandora Media, whose Internet radio application for smart phones has been among the most downloaded, is hoping that it will be just as popular on Wall Street.
The Oakland company on Friday said it plans to raise $100 million by selling shares in an initial public offering later this year.
Though a hit with its 80 million listeners who collectively stream billions of hours of music a year through the service, Pandora has yet to make a profit.
It lost $16.8 million on $55.2 million in revenue its fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2010. But the service is on the verge of breaking even, narrowing its loss to just $328,000 on revenue of $90.1 million during the following nine months ended Oct. 31.
For more detail on the filing and the company, check out the story on The Times' Company Town blog.
-- Alex Pham
Tim Westergren hasn't always been the digital music prophet. When he founded Pandora Media in 2000, it was more of a curious academic experiment called the Music Genome Project to analyze the attributes of all types of music, from early Renaissance classical to trip hop and funk.
That was followed in 2005 by Pandora's Internet radio, which serves up music deemed by the Music Genome to be similar to favorite songs or bands of individual listeners.
Though wildly popular, the company limped along financially until 2008, when Westergren announced that it was on the brink of collapse, thanks to a dramatic, retroactive increase in what Internet radio stations such as Pandora were ordered by federal courts to pay in performance royalties.
The announcement came as a shock to its 6 million listeners, who bombarded their elected officials with demands for reducing the fees. The campaign, called SaveNetRadio, worked. The fees were ratcheted down last year, sparing Pandora from what seemed like certain extinction.
The Oakland company still forks over 60% of its revenue in royalties, but now it can focus on growing, rather than just staying alive. Pandora today has more than 40 million listeners on mobile devices.
What's next? Westergren, the company's boyish and lanky chief executive who favors striped T-shirts that make him look much more youthful than his 44 years, answers that in a recent interview with The Times.
You've conquered cellphones. Now what?
Westergren: Simply put, half of radio listening happens in the car. People spend 20 hours a week listening to music; 17 hours of that is from radio. About half of that radio listening, or 8.5 hours, occurs while they're in a car. So that's the holy grail.
We're actively developing products with car manufacturers and after-market stereo companies such as Pioneer and others. We're already working with Ford, Mercedes and other companies that we can't talk about now. Our goal is to be in every new car that rolls off the manufacturing line.
Half of the 20 million people who have Pandora on their iPhones use it ...
AT&T, the exclusive U.S. wireless carrier for the iPhone, is doing away with its unlimited Internet offering for new customers next week. Is it the end as we know it for streaming music services like Pandora?
Not likely, but AT&T customers might want to think twice about watching a ton of music videos on YouTube.
Current AT&T smartphone customers can hang on to their current $30-per-month plans or switch to a new option -- $15 for 200 megabytes or $25 for 2 gigabytes.
If you're hoping to treat yourself to an extra Arby's combo meal next month, the 2-gig plan should cover general usage. AT&T says it will cover 98% of its customers.
With an imminent update to Apple's mobile operating system, iPhone users will finally be able to listen to streaming music while they surf the Web, check e-mail and use other applications. So usage of Pandora is expected to skyrocket.
Music industry influencer Bob Lefsetz wrote in his newsletter on Wednesday that Pandora could become an unintended causality of the AT&T caps.
A Pandora spokeswoman said half a percent of listeners, based on current patterns, will be affected. If anything, Pandora presumes the cheaper plans could make smartphones, and in turn Internet-dependent music services, more accessible to the casual consumer.