SiriusXM bought a $480 million stake in Pandora
Not only did Eventbrite buy Ticketfly from Pandora, satellite radio giant SiriusXM has bought a $480 million stake in Pandora. SiriusXM had been in talks to buy Pandora, but instead bought this stake (for now?) which gives SiriusXM around 16% ownership of Pandora.
Jim Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of SiriusXM, said in a statement, “This strategic investment in Pandora represents a unique opportunity for SiriusXM to create value for its stockholders by investing in the leader in the ad-supported digital radio business, a space where SiriusXM does not play today. Pandora’s large user base and its ability to provide listeners with a personalized music experience are tremendous assets. With its strong technology and new product offerings, we believe there are exciting opportunities for Pandora to accelerate its growth and increase value for Pandora and SiriusXM stockholders.”
According to the PR, SiriusXM purchased $172.5 million at the time of the agreement, and will purchase the balance at a second closing.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Pandora CEO and founder Tim Westergreen was the keynote speaker at A2IM’s Indie Week conference at The Clemente on the Lower East Side. The speech was in the form of an interview followed by a period of questions from the audience. Mark Mulligan, Managing Director of MIDiA Research, conducted the interview which touched on the state of streaming music, Pandora’s new features, being a public company, Amazon, Apple, and Sirius, but not SiriusXM. Mark reminded the audience that no questions about (the rumored talks with) SiriusXM would be answered. Given how close to a deal they really were, it’s amazing Tim was even able to make his scheduled morning appearance. That said, it was an interesting and insightful talk. He was friendly, polite and gracious, even when asked the most basic questions from the audience, that they could have used Google to answer. Tim might be biased, but he believes that companies like Apple and Amazon — who are in music but don’t need to make money from music — are bad for the music industry. He credits Pandora’s success with their expert curation of what people really want to hear, and pointed out that their radio business is still hugely profitable. They use those profits to expand into things like Spotify-like on demand music which is a new big focus. Indie Week is mainly a conference for indie record labels, so artists making money aside, another big area of interest was AMP, Pandora’s free Artist Marketing Platform (“Whether you’re submitting music to Pandora for the first time or getting insights about your music and fans, Pandora AMP provides powerful tools and resources to enrich your career.”)
It will be interesting to see what the future brings.
Had SiriusXM bought Pandora completely, and had Pandora not sold Ticketfly to Eventbrite, it would have made Ticketfly and Ticketmaster cousins. SiriusXM is owned by Liberty Media, who owns about 34% of Live Nation, who owns Ticketmaster and Ticketweb.
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