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TuneIn sues Pandora over ad sales deal

By | Published on Wednesday 21 June 2017


So, thanks to its recent deals, Pandora is now sitting on a cash pile of £680 million. Let’s make sure at least some of that lands into the pockets of those lovely lawyers, right?

Good news everybody! Radio station and podcast aggregator TuneIn is suing Pandora, accusing the streaming music firm of breach of contract, anticipatory breach, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and negligent misrepresentation. Which is fine list of allegations if ever I saw one.

According to Billboard, the dispute relates to an agreement the two companies entered into last year which saw Pandora commit to sell TuneIn’s digital audio advertising slots on an exclusive basis.

Pandora, which has never managed to make its ad-funded personalised radio service profitable, apparently reckoned that it had a super new digital advertising platform that TuneIn could benefit from, it taking a cut of all the ad income it could generate for its new business partner.

However, TuneIn alleges in the lawsuit it filed this week, Pandora “did not invest the resources and effort necessary to make the [new ad venture] a successful sales platform”, adding that the “dismal” number of ads it sold are proof of that. TuneIn reckons that it sold way more advertising through its previous ad sales partners.

Under the deal, Pandora offered TuneIn certain guaranteed income providing the radio aggregator achieved certain levels of traffic. TuneIn says that it delivered on its side of that deal, but that Pandora hasn’t fulfilled its promises regarding minimum payments. Instead, TuneIn alleges, Pandora claimed its new business partner had not provided its inventory forecast in a “reasonably acceptable format”. This, the lawsuit claims, is “a thinly-veiled attempt” by Pandora “to avoid its payment obligations in light of its poor sales results”.

Commenting on the dispute, TuneIn CEO John Donham told Billboard: “We are disappointed that Pandora did not invest the promised resources and effort to make our exclusive partnership a success. Pandora’s failure to honour its agreement with TuneIn forced us to take this step to protect our contractual rights”.

Pandora is yet to respond to the litigation. At least its execs can hide behind that mountain of cash. Until the lawyers grab a load of it to defend TuneIn’s legal claim.