Pandora Internet Radio (also known as Pandora Radio or simply Pandora) is a music streaming and automated music recommendation service powered by the Music Genome Project. As of 1 August 2017, the service, operated by Pandora Media, Inc., is available only in the United States. On 14 July 2017, Pandora emailed Australasian users to notify them that the New Zealand and Australian access to Pandora will cease on 31 July 2017. The service plays songs that have similar musical traits. The user then provides positive or negative feedback (as “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”) for songs chosen by the service, and the feedback is taken into account in the subsequent selection of other songs to play. The service can be accessed either through a web browser or by downloading and installing application software on the user’s device such as a personal computer or mobile phone.
In 2000, Pandora Media Inc. began as Savage Beast Technologies, and was founded by Will Glaser, Jon Kraft and Tim Westergren. The idea was to create a separate, individualized radio station for each user having just the “good” music on it, with none of the “junk” that other users like. The company quickly ran through its initial two million dollars in funding and in 2001 the company ran out of money. Founder Tim Westergren convinced the fifty employees of the company to work for two years without pay.
Initially the company pursued a transitional strategy of technology licensing to third parties including AOL, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and Tower Records. In 2004 the company returned to its initial vision of producing customized radio stations and changed its name to Pandora Media. The website began as only a paid service but quickly changed to an advertising service to make it also available free for users.
In 2011, Pandora launched its IPO on the NYSE and is listed as ‘P’. On March 7, 2013, Pandora chairman and chief executive Joseph J. Kennedy announced that he would be leaving the company after nine years. In April 2013, Pandora announced that their radio streaming service had passed 200 million users, about 70 million of whom were active monthly. By December 2013, Pandora was noted as accounting for 70% of all Internet radio and 8% of total radio listening in the United States.:46
On September 1, 2013, Pandora removed a 40-hour-per-month limitation for free mobile listening. In December 2013, iTunes was described as Pandora’s “biggest existential threat”.
In early 2015, Pandora removed lyrics from song pages, but returned them by July. On April 16, 2015, song samples were officially removed. At around the same time, a new feature was introduced to give users the ability to receive notices about their favorite artists through the music player. They also redesigned the thumbs up/down feature to allow the listener to undo their action. By January 2015, songs played on Pandora had received over 50 billion thumbs up from users.
On the 27th of June, 2017, Pandora announced that they would be terminating operations in Australia and New Zealand on the 31st of July, 2017.
On the 1st of August, 2017 at approximately 02:10 AM AEST, Pandora Australia and New Zealand users access was terminated with all Pandora apps for Australasian users ceasing to function, and any attempt to access the website being redirected to a help article about the shutdown.