Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Pandora to go dark in Australia in weeks

One of the first music services in Australia is about to go dark, as Pandora’s local presence pulls the plug. What will this mean for subscribers?

Australians sure aren’t starved for choice when it comes to online streaming music providers, with their assortment of Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and Tidal all offering an all-you-can-hear buffet of sound, provided you’re willing to pony up the monthly cost or settle for ad supported spontaneity, at least in the case of Spotify, anyway.

One provider has been around in Australia longer than most, however, offering a music radio service developed from the concept of “the music genome”, a concept that basically allowed data scientists and musicians to break down music into core emotive components, allowing the radio service to develop into an algorithmic concept that found music you could enjoy based on how other tracks you liked or disliked sounded.

That concept was found in Pandora, a company and service founded by Tim Westergren, and it was one of the first music services to venture outside the United States and provide access to Australians, doing so alongside New Zealand back in 2013 after blocking people from outside the US in 2007.

When Pandora launched locally, Westergren even arrived in Australia to do “town hall” talks around the country on what Pandora was and how it could be used, essentially bringing locals into the fold.

But this week, those locals could end up getting a little angry, with news that Pandora’s local arm is shutting up shop.

Yes, Pandora’s presence in Australia and New Zealand is saying later, with changes to the American arm alongside.

Since Pandora’s inception in 2000, Westergren was the company’s CEO, but this week he’s stepping down, and the company is shaking things up, shutting down its Australian offices.

“After diligent analysis, we have decided to discontinue our operations in Australia and New Zealand and expect to wind down the service for listeners over the next few weeks,” said a Pandora spokesperson.

“While our experience in these markets reinforces the broader global opportunity long-term, in the short-term we must remain laser-focused on the expansion of our core business in the United States.”

Pandora’s spokespeople wouldn’t answer any other questions we had for what that means for current subscribers of the service, particularly the few who have paid, and if they would be getting refunds, nor did the company comment on if Australians and New Zealanders would still be granted access to the service or if it would be lock out IP addresses that weren’t found inside America.

That last option would certainly not be without precedent for Pandora, which locked out Australians and indeed other nations from 2007 onwards until its local launch six years later.

Our guess is that the blockade and lockout will go back up, likely in a similar capacity to what Hulu operates now, only allowing those from within the United States to view its content and media.

And we’re also sure that once this happens, VPN providers will be advertising their services as a solution to get around it, and the cycle will continue.

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