As Pandora gears up to challenge Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal, the internet radio pioneer is going to need all the star power it can get. With artist relationships, exclusive releases, and music curation becoming competitive weapons in the streaming music war, Pandora doesn’t have much choice.
It’s a good thing Questlove stopped by. The Roots drummer, NYU professor, and tireless party DJ just partnered with Pandora as its first artist ambassador and will soon host a radio show called “Questlove Supreme.”
Whether or not it was obvious when Pandora made a string of expansion-minded acquisitions last year, this type of partnership has become crucial as Apple Music’s star-studded executive team has tapped into its extensive industry network (and Apple’s cash reserves) to bring on household names from Drake and Elton John, even aiming squarely for Pandora’s legacy territory with the launch of its Beats 1 radio station. For its part, Spotify recently hired Troy Carter to head up its artist relations efforts.
This is a natural move for Pandora, which has been sharpening its focus on artists for some time, aided in no small part by cofounder (and one-time touring musician) Tim Westergren. The partnership is also well timed: Pandora plans to launch a new Spotify-style, on-demand streaming service before the end of the year.