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Summary:

Pandora’s founder Tim Westergren tried to do away with the notion that there is no money in streaming music by revealing that some musicians have made $2 million with Pandora’s streaming service. The data comes at a time when Pandora is looking for better royalty rates

Tim Westergren, Pandora

Updated. Pandora founder Tim Westergren revealed at the SF Musictech Summit in San Francisco Tuesday that some artists are making over $2 million dollars in revenue with his company’s service. “You would be surprised how many artists are making over $100,000,” he added.

One other interesting tidbit revealed by Westergren on Tuesday: The company is now streaming more hours of music each month that YouTube streams hours of video.

Westergren’s comments came at a time when the music streaming service is pushing to reduce the rates it has to pay for music royalties, leveling the playing field to traditional terrestrial radio as well as satellite radio subscription services.

Westergren reminded his audience that his company is forking over 55% percent of its entire revenue stream to Soundexchange, the collection agency that is in charge of compulsory licenses for performing musicians. Traditional radio doesn’t have to pay Soundexchange at all, and instead just pays money to composers. “We want the same standard being extended to web radio that currently is being applied to our competition,” said Westergren.

Pandora has been accumulating rising losses as it has established itself as a leader in the online radio space, something Westergren acknowledged by saying that the company “spent a lot of money getting to where we are now.” In addition to the licensing fees, the company has been spending a lot on building up an ad sales force, with Westergren revealing that half of the company’s over 600 employees are now selling advertising.

Update: Pandora published a post with some additional details on its blog.

  1. Will McCormick Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    hmm not sure about that those figures. Sounds like smoke and mirrors to me as they use it as a bargaining chip.

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  2. “You’d be surprised….”. We don’t have to be. He knows how many. If one of the “journalists” in the audience was worth their lunch, they would have asked him that question point blank. Otherwise the whole topic is BS.

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  3. Of course this jackass won’t name the artists making 2 mil off his service. He (Pandora) used to be for artists getting paid. Since his IPO he is the Darth Vader of the music industry.

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  4. Surprised? I’d be shocked! @len42: Excellent point.

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