Telematics Update interviews Joe Kennedy, CEO and president of Pandora

Telematics Update interviews Joe Kennedy, CEO and president of Pandora

Pandora is a personalized radio service, delivered over the Web, cell phones, consumer electronics devices, and—soon—cars that allows listeners to create stations based on their favorite artists and songs. The free service, which now counts over 40 million registered listeners in the US, is powered by the Music Genome Project, a vast, hand-built taxonomy that connects songs based on their similarity across hundreds of musical attributes, enabling users to enjoy music they know and discover music they'll love.

How do you differentiate your offerings from your competitors?

Since its founding almost 10 years ago, Pandora has made an enormous investment in the intellectual property necessary to deliver a truly personalized radio experience. That investment has allowed us to create a new kind of radio—stations that only play music you like.

What industry milestone did you recently achieve?

We’re very excited that Alpine has just been honored with a CES Innovation Award for its Pandora® Ready Digital Media Receiver (IDA-X305S), the first after-market car audio system to integrate with and directly control Pandora’s iPhone app, enabling car owners to enjoy a great Pandora experience while driving down the road.Which trends will impact the industry the most in the coming years and why?Ubiquitous Internet connectivity and the explosion of smartphones will transform consumer expectations for the in-car experience.

Pandora is an integral part of our recent Consumer Telematics 2010 show in Las Vegas. What key issues will Pandora be discussing with the industry at the show?

Pandora has just passed the 40 million registered users mark and is growing over 2 million new ones a month—just in the US. Over 15 million have already downloaded Pandora’s mobile application to an iPhone or other smartphone. Already half of these users have used the smartphone app to listen to Pandora in their car, so their appetite for integration into the vehicle has already been demonstrated. We have laid a very strong technical foundation to enable a seamless integration and look forward to working with the auto industry and its suppliers to develop great Pandora in-car experiences.

What’s on your 2010 wish list?

Samsung has a great Blu-Ray DVD player that has built-in wireless connectivity along with integrated software to download movies from Netflix and play Pandora. The price is down to $149 at BestBuy and it seems perfect for my living room!

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