When Pandora shares took a dive last week several people pointed out that its dip came soon after the number one U.S. radio company Clear Channel Inc launched a customized radio application announced with a press release which didn’t shy away from drawing comparisons with Pandora.
Of course those comparisons essentially said “look our service is waaay better than Pandora” and Clear Channel’s chairman of media and entertainment platforms Bob Pittman, couldn’t help but damn Pandora with faint praise in our interview.
Here are highlights of our chat with Pittman, a well -known AOL and MTV alum. (By the way, Pandora shares were back up 5 percent on Tuesday morning to $10.38).
MediaFile: You already had streaming radio stations, wasn’t that enough?
Bob Pittman: We’ve seen an opportunity to create what Pandora has called ‘custom radio’ probably more accurate to call it a playlist creator because there’s no personalities, no services like radio. But since they described it as custom radio they gave us brand permission to come in and add it as a feature to our service.
Mediafile: Why is your custom radio any different or better than Pandora?
BP: We had the benefit of watching Pandora trying to build a business, certainly they built a nice feature whether it’s a business or not I’ll let everybody else debate. We thought what else can we do to the experience to make it fit better with radio, so we have a slide feature with a range of songs from familiar to discovery with ten times the number of songs Pandora has for example. We have ongoing music research, that we spend millions of dollars for every year, checking what’s hot, what’s moving on, what clusters together. And we’ve written our own algorithms in addition to using some outsourced algorithms.