Two months after unrolling the Pandora Premium subscription service, the streaming company’s chief technology officer, Chris Martin, has left the building. Called the “centerpiece of Pandora engineering” by the company, he has been there since 2004.
In a statement Friday, Pandora said that Martin “has decided to move on from Pandora” after “helping to shape a team and culture that is the envy of our peers.” No doubt, the timing will inspire curiosity, with Martin’s inside role in getting its anticipated Pandora Premium into the consumer pipeline, in an effort to compete with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and iHeartRadio All Access—and to aid its weak financial stance. This year, shares of Pandora have dropped 25%.
In addition, swirling rumors of a potential sale continue to circulate. Bloomberg reports that the company said last week it is “shaking up its board and stepping up efforts to find a possible buyer” this year. Pandora introduced the on-demand service later than expected and won’t generate significant revenue from subscribers until the second half of the year, chief financial officer Naveen Chopra said this week on a call with investors, as reported by Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, in an apparent effort to raise capital, Pandora is considering the sale of its Ticketfly business, acquired in 2015. The company would prefer to concentrate on its music-streaming service, sources tell Bloomberg. “The online-radio provider is still looking for a buyer for the entire company, but a sale of the ticketing business could be an option if that doesn’t happen,” one source told the news service.
Pandora paid $335 million for Ticketfly, a move then-CEO Brian McAndrews hailed as a “game-changer.” Ticketfly handles ticket sales for hundreds of venues across North America, and Pandora has tried to use the data it has about music fans to sell more tickets. It competes with market leader Live Nation.