Tim Westergren Riffs on Pandora’s Success, Hints at Next Act

I was in a band until my early 30s. But my real passion in music was composing, and so I started writing film scores. And writing film scores, it’s a very particular kind of discipline where you sort of deconstruct music and you first try to figure out what a film director wants for a movie, which is part of the art of being a film composer.

So I just started thinking about music in its component parts. It’s a very deliberate form of composition, and you’re also trying to profile the taste of the director, so I just started thinking about the genome of music and the genome of taste. And I actually developed a methodology for profiling someone, where I would bring a stack of CDs and sit with a director and just play stuff for them and get their feedback, and translate that into an understanding of musicological understanding of what they were looking for so I could go back and compose something I knew they would like.

So I was doing this, I was living in the Bay Area, I was spending a fair bit of time in L.A. too, but I was based in San Francisco and this is right in the middle of the whole big first consumer dotcom craze, when the consumer web was just hitting.