WATCH: Hangout with Pandora’s Steve Hogan: ‘We want to expand in Asia, but royalties and licensing issues are obstacles’

One of the men behind Pandora’s ‘Music Genome Project’ Steve Hogan joined Mumbrella for a video hangout today.

Hogan, who is Pandora’s global music operations manager, expressed a desire for the struggling startup turned global frontrunner to launch in Asia, but royalty and licensing issues remain obstacles to expanding in this region.

“It’s a stated goal for us to eventually to have billions of registered users, so it is a big focus for us to expand. But it comes down to the framework around royalties and licensing, which is different from country to country,” he said.

“We’d love to come to your country, but it has to be on terms that work for the business. To launch in Asia, we’d have to hire music experts from the region who can build the music collection and understand it in its own cultural terms.”

Hogan has been with the music streaming company since its startup phase 14 years ago, and now heads up the 25-strong music analyst team who listen to each of the million tracks the service has rights to.

The team analyses and catalogues up to 450 aspects of each song from rhythm to vocals and enters them into the Music Genome project, allowing the service to select the most appropriate tracks for users based on their selected tastes. The service also serves up advertising based on the user’s profile.

Steve Hogan_PandoraA musician himself, Hogan has been performing as a pianist and organist in San Francisco’s Bay Area for over 15 years, including the past three seasons as the organist at baseball team the San Francisco Giants home ground.

Hogan was interviewed by Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes to discuss the Genome Project, data and how the company is differentiating itself in a competitive streaming market.


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