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Step Four: Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help
In 2007, a government ruling more than doubled royalty payments for Web radio stations, placing Pandora's ongoing viability in jeopardy. "Our investors wanted to shut us down," Westergren told Inc. in late 2008. "We were just hemorrhaging money." So Westergren e-mailed each of his customers asking them to contact their Congressional representatives to demand that the ruling be reviewed. He also pleaded for help on Pandora's blog. Over the next year and a half, no fewer than 1.7 million Pandora fanatics called, faxed, or wrote to Congress to plead Westergren's case. As a result, Pandora is now wrapping up negotiations that are expected resolve the royalty issue. "It was an absolute Hail Mary," Westergren said. "If that didn't work, we were finished."