How Do You Do It?

Via Lindsey Block
on Feb 9, 2009
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I am on whenever I have the chance.  I’m on it more than I sleep or eat.  I even downloaded the app. to my iphone.  So what is Pandora?  And how does it do it?

If you are not familiar with Pandora, it is a free website with one “single mission: To play music you’ll love.”  Oh yeah, so where’s the catch?  I don’t know! I’ve been listening to great, free music for months now, exploring new artists, and genres. But the best part?  I’ve only encountered one 30 second advertisement that plays in between songs.

So how is Pandora staying alive?  I went to the site today to find a little more information and saw at the bottom of the page a “we’re hiring” tab.  How in this economy?  I am flabbergasted.  How does Pandora pay their workers?  How does Pandora get access to every genre, artist, song ever to exist? And how does Pandora give these gems away for free?

Is this some kind of sick joke?  Will I be arrested for signing up to this great website for free?

Really, I don’t get it.  But I know I love it.

Pandora started in 2000 and is based off of the Music Genome Project: “the most sophisticated taxonomy of musical information ever collected. It represents over eight years of analysis by our trained team of musicologists, and spans everything from this past Tuesday’s new releases all the way back to the Renaissance and Classical music.”

To begin listening, you choose either an artist or song you’re interested in listening to and “create a station.”  From here, Pandora will play music within the similar genre of your chosen station. Pandora can learn to choose songs you love, have loved and will love by their rating system.  To narrow down the music to your personal taste, Pandora has a thumbs up/thumbs down system.  This allows Pandora to figure out your exact personal tastes, since no one else has exactly your taste in music. You can create as many “stations” as you like that will be saved on the website, and Pandora will remember what you liked and didn’t like from your previous sessions.

As if this isn’t good enough, hear about how they decided on their name. “Pandora means “all gifted” in Greek. In ancient Greek mythology, Pandora received many gifts from the Gods, including the gift of music, from Apollo. She was also, as we all know, very curious. Unlike those Gods of old, however, we celebrate that virtue and have made it our mission to reward the musically curious among us with a never-ending experience of music discovery.”

I give two thumbs up to Pandora.


About Lindsey Block

Lindsey Block spends her weekdays as part of the Elephant Journal crew and her weekends hiking or picnicking at the park with a book. She's been a vegetarian for most of her adult life and delights in cooking up a new recipe (even though she really just wants to make tacos). She currently lives in Southern California.


6 Responses to “ How Do You Do It?”

  1. Joana Smith says:

    Some things I noticed in programming Pandora stations…

    *go from smaller bands as artist seeds. If you enter bigger names they inevitably come bearing LA/nashville crap-ola! For instance, my station plays Aimee Mann frequently, but she is not one of my seeds. When I added her once as a seed I automatically got Alanis Morrissette and Jewel following one right after the other! I was like, “no, no, no, no, no!”

    Some good seeds I’ve found are “Dosh.”

    And also, “Camera Obscura.” Great band, great friends on Pandora.

    And of course, add song seed, “Elephant Woman” by Blonde Redhead immediately!!!

  2. Michael says:

    Tom Conrad, CTO and Tim Westergren, CEO of Pandora describe the underpinnings of the Music Genome Project on Swampcast, a podcast at and on iTunes.

    Music recommendations are produced with a software rules engine. There are some revenues from advertising. Agreements with music vendors govern how music is served up.

    I love it, especially on my cellphone!

  3. Olá! O site Site Sucesso tem nova postagem entitulada: “shakira cantora de sucesso da musica na colombia e no mundo um projeto de sucesso internacional”. Venha ver!

  4. ken mullis says:

    love blugrass and classic country

  5. ken mullis says:

    love all classic country music