The Associated Press story on new Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews starts out on a false premise:
Pandora’s new CEO Brian McAndrews is a rock star of the digital advertising world.
Actually–he’s not. He may like to think of himself that way when he plays air guitar in his bedroom, but he’s not a “rock star”. But it points out an interesting twist–“rock stars” are hard to find these days, thanks to companies like Pandora. But the suits–now the suits are the rock stars. And even if he holds his breath and wishes very hard, Brian McAndrews is a suit.
The Arrogance of the New Boss
So how’s he doing in his capacity as a suit? Here’s a clue–he has no idea what business he is in and he has no reason to worry because he’s in a protected class, the compulsory licensee, the music profiteer. The government protects him, forces his suppliers to sell to him at a below-market price through consent decrees or compulsory licenses, and he can outlast any songwriter in court.
The 54-year-old executive told The Associated Press that the royalty fight is “a ways off” and that he’ll rely on the counsel of co-founder Tim Westergren and outgoing CEO Joe Kennedy.
“I’m confident we’ll be prepared and do the right thing,” he said.
“I do share Pandora’s longstanding belief that musicians should be fairly compensated for their work,” McAndrews said, adding that the existing patchwork of laws was “created piecemeal over decades” and “doesn’t serve any one very well.”
What’s different about the upcoming fee negotiations with SoundExchange is that Pandora’s survival is no longer in doubt. Analysts expect that in the fiscal year through January, Pandora will post its first positive earnings per share — 3 cents after excluding special items — since it became a publicly traded company in the summer of 2011.