Pandora, the popular streaming Internet music service, has filed the paperwork necessary to take itself public.
In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Feb. 11th, it was revealed that Pandora was intending to issue shares of common stock of itself in the near future. According to the filing, the company now has 80 million registered users, up from 46 million the year before, and had a loss of only $328,000 off of revenues of $90 million in the first nine months of 2010. While a loss is still a loss, compared to the $16.7 million it lost a year prior on revenues of $55 million, the company is obviously on the right path.
The documents also revealed that currently $78 million of its $90 million revenue comes from advertising with the remaining $12 million being made up from subscriptions. Considering a subscription for a year is $36, that means that only 333,000+ of its users pay for the advertising free version of the service.
While the paid subscription number could be better, it’s still not bad for a company that Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora, told The Washington Post in July 2008 was on the verge of collapse.
At the time of that interview, there was a movement to double the royalty rate that Internet radio sites paid to copyright holders. There was simply no way that Pandora could absorb those loses, and Mr. Westergren was going to have to look into shutting down the company if some sort of deal couldn’t be negotiated. It took nearly a year to work out the deal, but a more favorable royalty rate was finally reached and the company was able to keep its doors open. In July 2007 the service did have to shut down listeners outside of the United States, and it still hasn’t been able to re-open those doors due to copyright and licensing issues.
Pandora has been extremely aggressive in its distribution plans, showing up in just about every Internet connected device you can imagine from smartphones to television apps. The next frontier is apparently to be included in car radio systems meaning that the service will become almost as universal as traditional terrestrial radio.
There is no word on when the shares of common stock will be issued.
What say you? Would you invest in Pandora?