Pandora to close Australian operations within the month

Music streaming service Pandora is closing its doors in Australia after five years. Staff were told on Tuesday, with the office to shut within the month.

The service will be axed for Australian listeners “over the next few weeks”.

The news comes a day after Business Insider Australia reported the CEO of Pandora, Tim Westergren was stepping down.

It also follows Jane Huxley, managing director for Australia and New Zealand’s departure from the company in March, after four and a half years. Her replacement had not yet been announced.

In Standard Media Index numbers for 2016, which emerged in January, Pandora was lagging behind streaming rival Spotify. The SMI data estimated that while Spotify’s revenues had doubled to $11.9m, Pandora was flat for the year on $6.2m.

Pandora officially relaunched in Australia in 2012, after a five-year hiatus, and since then has built its offering beyond its radio streaming service to compete in the local market.

In 2014, Pandora launched its artist marketing data platform in Australia, which allowed performers to access data about their performance.

In August last year, Pandora brought its first events division to Australia for the first time, announcing Holden as its major sponsor.

The brand also became the first streaming company to let its users share music through iMessage.

Pandora also re-branded in October last year, attempting to enhance its “listeners’ music experience and help bring their music to life.”

Earlier this year, Pandora also announced its new mobile ad formats,  appointed Carat Media as its media agency of recordcreated a radio station to complement the print magazine Rolling Stone, and launched music genre sponsorships for advertisers in the Australian market.

A Pandora spokesperson said: “After diligent analysis, we have decided to discontinue our operations in Australia and New Zealand and expect to wind down the service for listeners over the next few weeks. 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.”

Pandora is the not the first streaming service to leave the Australian market.

In February 2014, Deezer closed its Sydney office, continuing to operate a full service for Australia and New Zealand from Singapore and Paris.

Deezer’s closure was later followed by the departure of Telstra’s streaming service Mog, which moved towards offering free subscriptions to Apple Music for mobile customers.

Other streaming platforms, including Rdio – which was bought by Pandora – JB Hi-Fi’s Now Music and Guvera have also closed down.

The team from Pandora has been shortlisted for sales team of the year in tomorrow night’s Mumbrella Awards.


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