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Pandora announces a new Podcast Chief

Just got the official word in the inbox: the music streaming giant Pandora has hired Lindsay Bowen, a lawyer formerly at Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, to serve as the company’s new VP of Podcasts and Entertainment Content Partnerships. If that name sounds familiar to you, that’s because he’s the guy I call on whenever I do one of those “Ask a Podcast Lawyer” segments.

Looks like I have to find a new lawyer for that.

Anyway: through his work at the law firm, Bowen has become a go-to attorney for the podcast community. According to the circulated press release, Bowen has production legal work on projects like Stitcher’s Wolverine: The Long Night and GOSSIP, plus MacMillan Podcasts’ Steal the Stars. Across his legal career, Bowen also worked on litigation against LimeWire, MP3tunes, and Grooveshark — early streaming companies that, if you can remember, ran afoul of the music industry. He also holds a theater background: Bowen co-founded The 24 Hour Company, which produces The 24 Hour Plays and The 24 Hour Musicals.

Here’s how the press release describes Bowen’s role at Pandora: “In this position, Bowen will be responsible for leading Pandora’s external partnerships for all podcast and entertainment initiatives. In this cross-functional role, he will be the liaison between sales, product, finance, legal and external partners for securing deals, determining the business model around those deals, and working closely with the curation and programming teams to further define our product offerings for podcasts.”

Which is to say: lots still up in the air. Pandora has been making increasingly loud noises about its upcoming entry into the podcast space, which appears to hinge on an initiative known as the “Podcast Genome Project,” a refashioning of the core recommendation technology that was its breakthrough into the music streaming space. It will face increasing competition from fellow streaming music companies Spotify and iHeartMedia, which continue to rattle their own ways into the podcast ecosystem. I imagine we’ll see Pandora’s podcast product roll out into the public soon enough.