Pandora wins at big Aussie awards show – then shuts up shop in Australia & NZ (*updated)

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Just days after the closure of Pandora’s Australian office – and its role in NZ – the Pandora team was named sales team of the year at Australia’s Mumbrella Awards, winning a standing ovation from the 1000-strong crowd during commercial director Chris Freel’s acceptance speech.

“We woke up in Cannes this morning to find our company is not going to exist in Australia and New Zealand any more,” he told the crowd.

The streaming music service team accepted their award at the Star Event Centre in Sydney, with Freel reminding the room that his entire team is “really employable at the moment”.

The announcement triggered wild celebrations in Pandora’s awards suite before the entire team took the stage to make their final appearance before the industry.

“It’s been a bitter sweet week,” Freel said. “The closure is a damn shame because we’ve built up a really good brand and a really good team.”

“Pandora has no actual troops on the ground in this country – all NZ operations were managed from Sydney.”

The Pandora office will be closing within the month, with the service closing to Australian and NZ subscribers over the next few weeks too.

Pandora is the third platform to cease local operations in this part of the world in the past year, with Guvera and Deezer also closing their Australian bases.

Pandora claimed to have more than 1.2 million active users in Australia with 80 million worldwide but its commercial growth hasn’t matched Spotify which dominates the Australasian streaming market.

Pandora’s Sydney-based Australian & NZ managing director Jane Huxley stepped down six months ago and hasn’t been replaced.

Pandora has *no actual troops on the ground in this country – all NZ operations were managed from Sydney. [Wrong: Read on … ]

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne was the big winner at the annual awards, held on Thursday, picking up five trophies including Creative Agency of the Year and Agency of the Year.

Five in NZ
Just as M+AD went out, we learned that there were, in fact, five Pandora sales staff in NZ – now unemployed. We’ll update this story tomorrow.

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