Advertising Technology

Pandora’s John Trimble on The Future of Personalized Music

john-trimbleJohn Trimble is Chief Revenue Officer of Pandora Media where he is responsible for all advertising revenue, strategic sales marketing and advertising operations. The Makegood recently spoke with John about personalized music and Pandora’s success in mobile.

The Makegood: John, within the last three years, Pandora became one of the leading radio services. What is your secret?

At Pandora, we have always operated with a focus on providing the best personalized listening experience for our users. We have done this by carefully curating our music catalog, finely tuning our playlist technology and also making sure that Pandora is available wherever our listeners are. With more than 760 connected consumer devices and more than 85 car models with Pandora integrations, Pandora is available everywhere and has truly become the soundtrack to our listeners’ lives.

The Makegood: In late October, Pandora 4.0 redefined mobile Internet radio for iOS and android smartphones, and set new standards for music discovery, exploration and sharing. Can you describe the shift in the way users access Pandora and what will be the future?

Mobile is very exciting for us. Our listeners are tuning into our mobile app more now than ever before. Currently, more than 75% of our total listener hours are occurring on mobile and connected devices and we expect this number of continue to increase. We want our users to be able to enjoy personalized music on Pandora throughout their day – at home, work, gym and all points in between.

The Makegood: Today, people can access Pandora in North America, Australia and New Zealand and you are in a rapid-growth mode. When will you reach your ultimate goal of being able to offer your service everywhere?

It is our sincere hope to someday be able to offer personalized internet radio to billions of people worldwide. However, we feel that the current royalty structure in many countries is not acceptable for us to do so. Right now we cannot comment on a timeline for additional country launches.

The Makegood: The desktop business is still the key revenue driver, however, mobile represents 75% of Pandora’s listening. How do you monetize mobile and what are the advertising opportunities for companies?

We believe Pandora should be free – just like traditional radio – and that means we will always remain ad-supported. Mobile is gaining increasing importance for marketers but the industry is still trying to understand where this medium fits into the budget. Pandora falls into several ad budgets such as digital, radio and mobile, as well as sponsorships and custom events. We are dedicated to continuing to educate the ad marketplace and the industry as a whole on the value proposition of mobile. Right now, we are thrilled that our mobile ad revenue continues to grow and last year our revenue was second only to Google.

The Makegood: According to CEO Joe Kennedy, Pandora has now surpassed 175 million registered users and more than 125 million have accessed Pandora on a smartphone. What can we expect coming from Pandora within the next year?

We expect to see more consumer growth fueled by our penetration into the automobile, which is still the primary location for radio listening. Our teams are continuing to innovate in everything we do and we are constantly striving to build the best product we can. In terms of advertising, we plan to further our leadership position in the mobile ad space as well as expand our local sales force to capture more revenue opportunities.

The Makegood: Thanks, John. 

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