The program (AMP), one of the first of its kind in the streaming world and a frequent talking point from recently departed company cofounder and former CEO Tim Westergren, enables artists to learn about their audience via listener data and make better decisions about where to advertise or tour. The program was instituted in 2014 and, according to a release from the company, has since been used by more than 11,000 artists who have produced 14,000 Artist Audio Messages (direct messages to fans) that have been “heard by Pandora listeners a billion times” (which isn’t to say Pandora has a billion listeners).
“Direct-to-fan marketing has never been better for artists and labels on Pandora. In two years, AMP has enabled thousands of artists to talk directly to their fans via Artist Audio Messages, resulting in over a billion listener impressions,” said Shamal Ranasinghe, VP Product for Creators, Artists, and Content Operations at Pandora. “Our new features continue to provide unprecedented ways for all artists on Pandora to connect with their fans, sell tickets, and break new music.”
The company also announced several new features, including Promote Show (using the program specifically to promote live appearances), Promote Single (attaching a message to a featured track) and other options.
The news comes at a challenging time for the company, which was a digital radio pioneer but has lost ground — and many millions of dollars — in recent years in its attempts to become a full-service streaming company as it lost listeners to services like Spotify and Apple Music. Westergren stepped down late in June after a $480 million investment from SiriusXM — although that deal has not closed — and $200 million from the sale of its Ticketfly business to Eventbrite; the latter venture, an attempt to integrate ticket purchases with its streaming service, was an awkward fit that saw the company offloading the acquisition at a big loss after its October 2015 purchase for $335.3 million (not $450 million, as widely reported).
The company generated $5 billion in revenue and $746 million in net income in 2016, although it also lost $132 million in the most recent quarter. The company had 31.6 million subscribers at the end of Q1 of 2017, and expects to add 1.3 million paying subscribers in 2017.