Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P), also known as Pandora Internet Radio and the largest music streaming service in the U.S., has announced plans to lay off about five percent of its employees, an addition to the list of California layoffs in 2018. The company is hoping to improve things with a shift to automated services, with fewer people needed to run them. It will also be investing more in non-music content. Pandora’s cost-cutting measures are expected to save around $45.0 million annually. It is reported that the first set of Pandora layoffs in 2018 will be completed by end of the first quarter of the year.
“As I shared last quarter, we know where and how to invest in order to grow,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Pandora Media Inc. “We have an aggressive plan in place that includes strategic investments in our priorities: ad-tech, product, content, partnerships and marketing. I am confident these changes will enable us to drive revenue and listener growth.”
The Pandora job cuts are supposed to affect two specific areas: Pandora’s advertising sales and Pandora’s client services. Pandora also has plans to expand its presence and workforce in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Atlanta is a city with a rich history in music and a large pool of diverse tech talent that we can tap into as we scale,” said Lynch. “While we are committed to having Oakland remain our headquarters, we’re excited to build on the great foundation of our awesome team there and expand our presence in Atlanta over time.”
“These changes allow us to act faster, invest for growth and extend our leadership as the audio market hits what we believe will soon be a major inflection point,” he added.
Pandora Layoffs in 2017
Pandora had previously reduced its workforce by seven percent in the first quarter of 2017. The company’s online ticketing service, “Ticketfly,” was not affected by the layoffs. CO-founder and then-CEO Tim Westergren had said in a letter to shareholders that to ensure continued execution across core initiatives in 2017, they took a comprehensive look at their operations and decided to focus on the most significant opportunities in front of them.
As a result, the company reduced its U.S. employee base by seven percent. He also added that the company wants to prioritize the highest value opportunities and deprioritize others.
Spotify’s New App Can Add to the Woes of Pandora
Popular music app Spotify is currently testing a free listening app on Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) “Android” platform in Australia. The app offers unlimited access with quick access to 4,500 official curated playlists. It also has a “lean-back” option to listen to music based on genre, with an option to manage playlists.
If this app becomes popular, it will advance multiple goals for the music streamer, including providing a new source of paid subscribers outside of its core service and increasing the influence of its playlist curators. Direct competition from Spotify could possibly add to Pandora’s woes, potentially leading to more Pandora layoffs in 2018.
“Pandora is laying off about 5 percent of its workforce as it shifts to more automated ads,” TechCrunch, January 31, 2018.
“Pandora Redesigns Organization to Drive Strategic Priorities and Accelerate,” Pandora Media Inc, January 31, 2018.
“Pandora Announces Layoffs; Ticketfly Employees Not Part of Cuts,” Amplify, January 12, 2017.
“Spotify Tests Free Pandora-Like ‘Stations’ Playlist App,” hypebot, January 31, 2018.
“Spotify is testing a new playlist-based music app that’s a lot like Pandora,” TechCrunch, January 30, 2018.