Pandora [P] CEO Tim Westergren is stepping down, according to reports surfacing late on Sunday. The shift comes just weeks after U.S. satellite radio company Sirius XM [SIRI.O] agreed to invest $480 million in the music streamer. A Pandora spokesperson declined to comment.
Pandora’s co-founder and most visible advocate, Tim Westergren, is exiting the music streamer, reports recode. He will likely stay at the company until a replacement is found.
Earlier this month, Pandora attracted a $480 million investment from SiriusXM and sold its Ticketfly division to Eventbrite for $200 million, a $250 million loss. Despite the cash infusion and cleaner balance sheet, Pandora faces widening losses and a difficult path forward.
What This Means For Musicians, Music Marketers
Westergren, who founded Pandora almost 17 years ago, is a former musician, and often pushed to make Pandora a more artist friendly service. Pandora owned Next Big Sound offers free advanced analytics and the Pandora AMP marketing platform provides artists and labels with innovative free tools to market on the music streamer.
These initiatives, which moved to the forefront after Westergren added the CEO role in 2016, helped shift the music industry’s perception of Pandora from foe to friend last year.
We’ll be watching if these artist-friendly programs remain a priority for Pandora after Westergren exits and the inevitable belt tightening in search of profits begins. Pandora is also staffed by many Westergren loyalists who share his artist-friendly ethos. How many chose to also exit could be a key indicator of the company’s intentions.
We’ll also be watching an reporting on how the stock market reacts to Westergren’s exit.