Pandora CEO Tim Westergren said "we intend to be profitable this year" on "Squawk Alley." That would be a big turnaround for the company, whose losses more than doubled from $170 million in 2015 to $343 million last year.
Westergren dodged questions about whether the company was for sale, comparing questions about Pandora's viability with similar questions from when the company began. " We've seen this movie before, 10, 11 years ago when we launched Internet radio, a lot of folks said the same thing – AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo had large personalized radio products with big distribution, but we built a much better product, and here we are years later the king of that category. We just think we've seen this before."
With the launch this week of Pandora Premium — the company's first ever on-demand streaming service — the company can out-compete tech giants like Apple and Amazon, he said.
"I am confident about our ability in this space," he said. "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 service will cost $9.99 a month, on a par with pricing from competitors Spotify Premium and Apple Music, and offer on-demand access to any track or album in Pandora's library and tailored playlists. Users will still be able to access the regular Pandora radio-like service if they don't want to choose songs.