Music service Pandora files for IPO

The Internet radio service, once on the brink of death, now plans to be the latest in a string of technology companies to go public.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read

Internet radio company Pandora filed a registration statement this afternoon to go public, according to a release. The number of shares to be issued and pricing information has not yet been determined, but the underwriters of the IPO are investment banks Morgan Stanley & Co. and J.P. Morgan Securities.

The wildly popular Pandora, which uses a "music genome" algorithm to create custom radio stations based on a single song or artist and offers paid subscriptions as well as a free, ad-supported version and a suite of popular mobile apps, has had a spectacular rise as well as a brush with death when it appeared that licensing fees might doom it entirely. In fall 2008, delays on Capitol Hill meant that crucial legislation about royalty fees Internet radio stations pay might take so long that a company like Pandora could run out of money first.

But the decision was favorable, and Chief Technology Officer Tom Conrad said last year that the company recorded its first profitable quarter at the end of 2009.

It's been one of the few success stories in the digital music world, which over the past decade has been littered with financial failures and piracy-related lawsuits. Now, it'll join a mini-boom in technology IPOs, entering the ranks of Demand Media, which went public last month, and LinkedIn, which filed for an IPO shortly thereafter. A handful of others, like Facebook--currently valued at $50 billion--and Groupon, are said to be waiting in the wings.

This post was expanded at 2:54 p.m. PT.