Internet radio service Pandora yesterday announced the appointment of Melanie Reece as sales director for New Zealand, starting October. The company officially entered the NZ and Australian markets in December last year, but Reece is its first New Zealand-based employee.
Pandora is a free, advertising-supported streaming service in which each user is presented with a custom ‘station’, generated via the company’s ‘Music Genome Project’ from a single user-specified artist, composer or genre.
In a phone call this morning, Reece told us her first job was to “let New Zealanders know they can have free music anytime, anywhere, that they love”.
On average, each Pandora listener tells about eight people about it.
We asked about Pandora’s strategies around reaching out to New Zealand users.
Reece explained that in the US, Pandora has achieved widespread adoption without the use of any paid advertising. “In the States it was purely word of mouth”, she said. “Step one for me is to get to key influencers, then across time, on average, each Pandora listener tells about eight people about it.”
“The trajectories [of adoption] in Australia and New Zealand are taking exactly the same track as they did in the states – it’s the same speed of uptake or faster.” Reece said.
Asked whether the UFB and 4G mobile connectivity will help drive adoption of services such as Pandora in New Zealand, Reese said that as a result of her own use of Pandora, her “data consumption has increased in NZ and overseas”. She told us “My personal belief is that content across the internet is absolutely the future. I know [telcos and service providers] are encouraging activities like this because data consumption will be really, really good for the telecommunications industry.”
Having yet to start in her new position, Reese was unable to comment on the quantity or variety of New Zealand music available via Pandora. However, she did mention that the service provided an excellent opportunity for New Zealand artists to gain both local and international exposure.