Opening Pandora's Box at CES


This year streaming music service Pandora is everywhere at CES — in the tablets, mobile phones, flat-screen TVs, and even the autos.

Pandora, which delivers customized Internet radio to 75 million users, free and ad-supported, has made a slew of announcements —particularly in the auto space.

Pandora's streaming music will now be available in Toyota and BMW's Mini cars. The system is also available from a slew of TVs, as well as after-market radio developers. And of course it's available on any of the Android tablets or smartphones here in the form of the company's app.

I sat down with Pandora's founder and Chief Creative Officer Tim Westergren at CES to talk about the company's recent growth to a new kind of ubiquity. He's here at CES taking meetings with new and potential future partners — fifty meetings in total. But with distribution to 200 Internet-connected devices he may be busier celebrating their reach than explaining his service to new potential partners.

Pandora is already available in three million Ford vehicles , but Westergren wouldn't tell me what that has done to Pandora's bottom line. One thing's for sure — more distribution is a very good thing for Pandora. The more convenient it is to access Pandora at home, at the office or on the go, the more people who use the service, the more ad revenue Pandora generates.

CES 2011 - Your Digital Life - A CNBC Special Report
CES 2011 - Your Digital Life - A CNBC Special Report

When will Pandora go public?

It's definitely in that prime IPO range — it hit $50 million in revenue in 2009, which means it'll certainly be in the $125 million annual revenue range this year.

Westergren wouldn't comment, but it's clear he's being approached by bankers hoping to put together that public offering.

For now he's focusing on making the service entirely ubiquitous.

Questions? Comments?