MediaFile

TodayInMusic: Pandora adds Chernin and ex-Netflix CFO to board

Pandora_Tim Westergren11Pandora, the popular Internet radio service, has expanded its board membership with two heavyweights of the media world: former News Corp no.2 Peter Chernin and former Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy.

The news will naturally stoke speculation that an IPO is indeed round the corner. Reuters reported last month that the company has met with bankers to discuss a $100 million public offering.

Chernin, wh0 left News Corp in early 2009, now runs his own business in Hollywood called The Chernin Group and Chernin Entertainment investing in media, entertainment and technology businesses.

McCarthy stepped down from Netflix in December after 12 years but has some background in the music business with a previous role at Music Choice.

A Pandora spokeswoman declined to confirm if either Chernin or McCarthy has made a personal investment in the business. To date the company has raised about $56.3 million according to various venture data sources.

TodayInMusic: Rdio gets $17.5 mln funding, Warner exec on board

Niklas Zennstrom Skype

Rdio, the social media music service backed by the founders of KaZaa and Skype, has raised another $17.5 million in its latest round of funding.

Its latest backer is Mangrove Capital Partners, who inadvertently broke this story over the weekend via Twitter. The start-up’s earlier funding was provided by Rdio co-founder Janus Friis through his investment entities as well as Atomico  and Skype. Atomico is the VC firm from Niklas Zennstrom (pictured) who was Janus’ partner in Skype and KaZaa, the music file sharing service. Currently available only in US North America., it’s going to use the new funds to expand its footprint to new platforms and countries this year.

Rdio’s service allows you to automatically share the music you’re listening to and discover new music through people you follow. It’s kind of what iTunes and Ping are trying to do but few think they’ve achieved.

Today In Music: Rhapsody’s added 100,000 new subscribers since April

JonIrwin1Rhapsody, one of the pioneers of music subscription services, has added more than 100,000 net new subscribers since the company was restructured in April President Jon Irwin (pictured, left) told Reuters. This means they’ve overcome  a long period of slow or no  growth during which its two major owners Real Networks and MTV Networks tried to figure out what to do with the business amidst the usual issue of conflicting agendas in  joint ventures.

As you may recall, last February both owners agreed to reduce their stakes by bringing in two major label owners Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment as minority holders and also offered warrants to Warner Music Group and EMI Group. The company actively became independent in April.

Now with those closer relationships with the music business but more importantly its expansion through mobile platforms like the iPhone and Google’s Android platform, business is growing.  Irwin said Rhapsody has been adding as many customers as its key music subscription rivals have altogether– it now has around 750,000 subscribers. Last we heard a couple of years ago it was around 700,000-mark.

Today In Music: Q&A with Tim Westergren founder of Pandora

Q&A: Tim Westergren, Founder Pandora

Pandora_Tim Westergren11Pandora is the leading Internet radio service in the United States with more than 75 million registered listeners  claiming more than 50 percent of that market using its free service. It is one of the top five most download apps across smartphones and mobile platforms like iPhone, Android and BlackBerry according to Nielsen research with more than 50 million total mobile downloads.

It was launched on the Web in 2005 by Westergren and to date has raised more than $56.3 million through five rounds of funding according to TechCrunchwith backing from names like Greylock Partners, Hearst Interactive Media and Allen & Co.

Earlier this month sources told Reuters that Pandora has opened early conversations with bankers about a possible $100 million IPO . The company has declined to comment on any details of the potential offering.

Today In Music: Sony Music boss invests in start-up, fuels exit speculation

Doug Morris UMGSony Music Entertainment Rolf Schmidt-Holtz’s personal investment in Hamburg-based entertainment technology company TeVeo has sparked off speculation that his departure is imminent — which it almost certainly is, but not necessarily because of his investment.

As is well known by now, Schmidt-Holtz is very likely to leave Sony Music on March 31st when his contract expires after five years on the hotseat. He will be a partner in TeVeo following an investment, which was cleared by Sony, and is believed to be around 10 percent.  We’ve been told by a source that the investment and his likely departure in March are not linked.

So if he does leave what will that mean for Sony Music, still struggling to present a completely united front to the world since the 2004 merger between Sony Music and BMG Entertainment?

Today in Music: BMG keeps rebuilding publishing empire with Fuji deal

Bertelsmann’s BMG Music Rights has continued to expand by agreeing to a deal to manage the song catalogs of Fuji John Lee HookerEntertainment America’s ARC Music, Six Palms Music and Third Story catalogs in a worldwide deal everywhere outside of Japan and South East Asia.

While this isn’t quite as committed a deal as buying a company’s catalog,  it’s still an important way to continue to gain influence and power in the music publishing business. The German media company returned to  music publishing in 2007  after a brief absence following the sale of  its song publishing company to Universal Music Group  in 2006.

Since being founded, BMG Music Rights has built up its catalog to more than 200,000 songs and recordings following acquisitions of catalogs like Crosstown Songs, Cherry Lane Music Publishing and Stage Three Music.

Today In Music: Spotify U.S. not imminent, “not even in Q1″

daniel_ek_closeupWe hate to hit replay on this one but following New York Post’s story today that European streaming music service Spotify is close to a deal with Sony Music and thereby close to launch we decided to call a few people to confirm.

It appears there’s still some distance between Spotify and the big major labels my sources tell me.

“It’s not happening anytime soon, they may be close to getting deals done, but the labels are still not confident about their business model,” one person said.