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Pandora Unveils 'Artist Messaging' Feature, Allowing Artists to Send Targeted Messages to Fans

by Ryan Middleton   Feb 22, 2015 12:39 PM EST

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During the Code/Media Conference, Pandora CEO Tim Westergren took the opportunity to announce a new feature the company is in the process of rolling out: its new "artist messaging" program, which allows artists to send targeted messages to their fans.

Artists will be able to record short announcements or messages about things like new music -- albums, releases, etc. -- tour dates or crowd-funding efforts and then insert them into their playlists of music. What makes this even better for artists is that the messages can be geo-targeted through Pandora's artist management platform.

Speaking to Re/code's Walt Mossberg at the Code/Media conference, Westergren explained how this would work for an artist.

"You're in a band and you decide to stop in Portland tomorrow night to play an impromptu show," he hypothesized, via Billboard. "Pull out your smartphone, log into your Pandora AMP account, zoom into Portland and check out your audience there. And then record a 15-second audio sample that says ... we're playing in Portland, we hope to see you there."

According to Bloomberg, the streaming giant has signed up 10 artists for a pilot program who will be joined by Lenny Kravitz and Fall Out Boy. Artists have complained about royalties accrued from Pandora, but according to Westergreen, the new messaging service "will dwarf royalties."

Though Pandora has not turned a profit, Westergren wanted to drive home to the Code/Media crowd its user base and its billion-dollar revenue stream.

"This is a company that's building a product that consumers love -- 80 million-plus a month," he said. "We are working tremendously hard to build a business behind it. We're projecting over a billion dollars of revenue next year, we have this massive ad sales force, and a bunch of technology investment in it. And we're sharing that revenue very fairly, I think, with the artist community."

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