WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 09, 2010, 09:33 AM

Pandora Internet Radio co-founder holds town hall meeting in Fargo

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Pandora Internet Radio adds nearly 100-thousand Smartphone users per day. This afternoon, one of the founders opened up, at a town hall meeting in downtown Fargo.

He was named one of Time Magazines 100 most influential people of 2010. Tim Westergren co-founded Pandora in fall of 2005, and with more than 70 million current users, knows events like this are crucial to his company's success.

Tim Westergren (Founder): "Virtually every company benefits greatly from having a sense of why they are doing, what they are doing, and a sense of purpose and being really connect to your audience is a critical piece of that."

Westergren has held over 250 town hall meetings like this, but his service has some label executives worried about their artists.

Eddie Dattel (independent label owner): "We have the same fears too because we hate losing audience where traditionally in terrestrial radio, there has been a real one on one relationship with the disc jockeys and the artist."

Pandora Radio operates on the simple philosophy of coordinating songs you like and pairing it up with songs with similar harmonies. Based on whether you give it a thumbs down or thumbs up approach. However, it's also a company that almost crumbled three years ago.

Licensing fees were tripled by the government, and Pandora petitioned its listeners. After Congressman across the county received nearly 400-thousand faxes, the rates returned to normal.

Westergren: "If you find something that you love to do and you think is interesting, take the chance to go chase it. And I'd say don't do it alone."

Pandora's primary revenue stream is advertising, but Pandora itself does not advertise. It counts on its listeners.

Danielle (Concordia Grad student) "Word of mouth is how Pandora started and that's the best form of advertising I think, and if friends talk to their friends about something, they're going to try it."

Westergren said the next goal is to get Pandora into every car radio.