UPDATE: Pandora confirms ANZ operation to wind down, including listener access
Troubled streaming service Pandora has now confirmed that CEO Tim Westergren is out, and that the entire operation in Australia and New Zealand will be closed down – including the service for listeners – in just a matter of weeks.
A Pandora spokesperson explained that it will for now get its house in order in the United States before looking at the global market again.
Launched locally five years ago, Australia and New Zealand were the only countries outside the United States in which Pandora was in operation.
The official statement reads: “While our experience in these markets reinforces the broader global opportunity long-term, in the short-term we must remain laser-focused on the expansion of our core business in the United States.”
CFO Naveen Chopra will serve as interim CEO. He joined Pandora earlier this year from TiVo, where he served as CFO.
The decks are being cleared with the departures of Chief Marketing Officer Nick Bartle, who joined in September 2016, and President Mike Herring who arrived in February 2013.
Pandora has also appointed Jason Hirschhorn, CEO of digital content curation company ReDEF and a veteran of MTV and Myspace, to its board, filling a recently vacated seat.
In a statement, board member Roger Faxon explained the reasoning behind the major changes at the company.
“Over the past several weeks, the board has taken a number of steps to refocus and reinforce Pandora.”
Sources suggested that despite attempts by local operations to increase its profile, subscribers remained at 1.2 million. Spotify and Apple Music seemed to have a faster growth rate, especially with younger music fans.
Last October, Pandora partnered with Holden to kick-start a range of music events, replicating those 80 in the United States, starting with a warehouse party in Sydney for 1000 customers.
The Australian and New Zealand operations lost its founding Managing Director Jane Huxley earlier this year, and a permanent replacement was not announced.
Pandora has a global subscriber base of 80 million, and in recent months had signed up with a number of major and independent labels as part of a strategy to expand its global footprint.
Pandora’s ceasing of operations in Australia and New Zealand follows similar moves by Deezer and Guvera.