"We intend to be profitable this year," Pandora CEO Tim Westergren declared on CNBC's "Squawk Alley" Monday. The bold claim came on the eve of the launch of its Pandora Premium on-demand music streaming subscription service and despite losses that more than doubled from $170 million in 2015 to $343 million last year.
"I am confident about our ability in this space," Westergren continued. "These are early days in the subscription of music and listeners don't know what a real premium product looks like yet and that's what Pandora is."
The reason for Westergren's optimism appears to be Pandora's ongoing connection with its 100 million active monthly users. Their massive data has helped Panora build a better music streamer, Westergren believes; and their relationship with them will make converting them to paid users easier, even without a major marketing budget.
Of course, if converting committed existing customers were as easy as Westergren hopes, Apple and iTunes should have been much more effective funnels to Apple Music than they have proven to be.
Not For Sale
Westergren also dismissed rumors of about an acquisition by Liberty Media's SiriusXM as one of the "joys of being a public company," and said he is focused on artist partnerships, advertisers and shareholders.