Viewer Mail… part 3

A couple more verbal answers to commonly asked questions. This week’s topics:
WHY DOESN’T PANDORA HAVE WORLD MUSIC?
CAN I BAN AN ARTIST FROM MY STATION?
HOW IS BOOKMARKING DIFFERENT FROM A THUMB UP?
HOW CAN I GET MY BAND ON PANDORA?
(One minor correction to this video — if you want to ban an artist from a particular station, you only need to thumb down TWO songs from that artist, not three.)
Please feel free to post any questions you’d like elaborated… we’re all ears!
Cheers. Tim (Founder)
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The Pandora Team http://www.pandora.com/

41 thoughts on “Viewer Mail… part 3

  1. Why isn’t the new album from Alan Jackson not out? It includes his newer single “Good Time”… Honestly your country selection is poor. It’s also missing George Strait. Other than that it’s a good site… Interesting concept.

  2. Calvin -
    I’ll have our Support Team (pandora-support at pandora dot com) contact you!
    John -
    Thanks for the suggestions.
    We have almost 30 George Strait albums in our collection: http://www.pandora.com/music/artist/george+strait
    And I’m sure we’ve already ordered the new Alan Jackson album…I’ll check with our music buyers.
    Whenever there are great artists or albums that you look up in Pandora and don’t find them, feel free to email suggest-music@pandora.com with those suggestions. Thanks!
    Cheers! Lucia

  3. Two thumbs down and an artist is banned? I love Depeche Mode, but I can definitely think of two songs I’d give a thumbs down to. That seems like a poor method of eliminating an artist from the rotation. There should be a explicit ban option instead.

  4. Can I listen to a song that comes up over and over with out having to wait for it to come around again? (kind of like a repeat button)
    Thanks, CJ

  5. Sometimes when I’m jonesing a tune, I’m wanting to hear songs from the same time period, you know, take a trip down memory lane, not current songs that sound similar or have similar qualities. I’d love it if you had an option that I could click on to find songs of the same genre and time period (all from 1999-2000) as say “Miserable” by Lit (which I loved back in college and would love to be reminded of some other songs I rocked to back then), or I could choose type and it could span time from 1999 to 2008 or whatever.

  6. I’ve been working on “trait” radio stations, and occasionally I’ll have to give a thumbs down to one of my seed artists. Lots of Sufjan Stevens are in an odd meter, but not all of them. If I thumb down a seed artist more than 2 times, will it be banned from the station?

  7. Lucia — thanks for the info. I’ve done that already…and have posted elsewhere to have a George Strait song “The Road Less Travelled” spelled correctly (like the album title and image is)…that is “Traveled”… It’s still no excuse for having an album from this year not already up on your artist page. It’s a travesty to the music and to your about page. Really, it is.
    That said, I hope to see some progress, if I am to believe your web site’s about page.
    Kevin — The trick is to not down two of an artist’s songs to quickly. If there is even one thumb up, it will not ban the artist, but it will keep others from being played so often. Another trick might be to seed the ones of the artist you like before. A little legwork often goes a long way, for the listener and for those behind the web site, too.

  8. Thanks for all the comments! Great ideas and suggestions…
    Jeffrey’s right:
    *****If an artist is a seed for your station, or you have already given a song of theirs a thumbs up, two thumbs downs WILL NOT BAN the artist.***** :)
    CJ -
    Sorry, we’re not legally allowed to offer a repeat song button.
    Jenn -
    The year a song was published is indeed one of the hundreds of traits analyzed in the Music Genome Project, but it is weighted in with many other (musical) traits, so it can sometimes get obscured. We are definitely interested in giving users more control over specific things they’d like to hear in their playlists. Stay tuned for updates!
    Meanwhile, here’s a suggestion. Try making stations based on a number of individual songs that have the feel of the musical era you’re going for. Stations based on an artist name will usually cover a broader range as Pandora tries to cover the artist’s full range. You can add multiple songs to a station by clicking the triangle next to the station name and selecting “Add more music to this station”.
    Look here (http://blog.pandora.com/faq/index.html#88) for more info on creating and tuning Pandora stations.
    Thanks!
    Lucia

  9. John -
    Thanks for telling me about the typo; we’ll take care of that. Traveled and Travelled are both acceptable spellings generally, but we need to make our spelling match Mr. Strait’s preference, of course! We’ll delete that extra ‘L’.
    Sometimes the human who types in the song names (my buddy Dan) makes an error, so we’re really grateful to listeners who help us find them so we can fix them.
    The best way to report typos, ask questions and make suggestions is by emailing our friendly Support Team at pandora-support@pandora.com
    Thanks!
    Lucia

  10. Is there some technical reason that a simple, explicit Ban This Artist option isn’t included in the UI? No Help option, FAQ, Viewer Mail video or multiple blog responses needed to understand that option.
    Why should I have to thumb-up songs I don’t like, or seed artists I’m not sure I like, just in case there’s some song I may like down the road but might not hear if the artist gets two thumbs-down first (and isn’t seeded)?
    Forcing the user to counter-intuitively use the UI and do “legwork” seems like a recipe for user frustration and not “more control over specific things they’d like to hear in their playlists.”

  11. Not sure if this has been asked cause this is my first day trying this but will there be a way to ‘skip’ songs that are playing. I may like the sound but not want to hear it at that time.

  12. Thanks for your thoughtful input and suggestions, Kevin! Great points.
    Prshus -
    You can skip a song 6 times per hour, per station: the skip button is to the right, above the music player. Right next to the volume and the play / pause button.
    Thanks!
    Lucia

  13. This really isn’t about the post, but I have 2 suggestions for expanding your revenue stream/providing a service to listeners.
    What if you gave people the ability to see the songs that they’ve listened to recently that they marked with a thumbs up? They could then mark certain songs and buy those songs from iTunes, Amazon, etc. all at once (fill their cart with those checked songs) rather than one at a time.
    The other is the ability for a listener to see all the songs they’ve ever given a thumbs up, and buy the songs the same way.
    Thanks for this service–I’ve discovered all kinds of new music!
    Chris

  14. Does the catalog of music genes exist somewhere on this site to view? It would be great if users could customize their own song choices based on specific genes. For example, I like Rage Against the Machine and Pharoahe Monch because they often have a political message in their music. But I don’t see any way to do that on the site, or even if that is a category of the geneology.

  15. this is a great resource and pretty well developed. one criticism i have is that when i listen to the classical stuff, if the work has multiple movements, only one track gets played. is it possible to set up so that i can listen to entire works?

  16. I’ve been on Pandora before and didn’t have any issues, but I registered again with my new company and 2 songs play at the same time. It used to be if you didn’t like a song and clicked the thumbs down it would move on and a new song would start. Well today that is not happening, both songs are playing at the same time and you can’t understand either.

  17. Chris -
    Thanks for the suggestions!
    You can “bookmark” songs and artist names to keep track of them for later (just click on the album art to do so). Then you can buy CDs or songs from your bookmark list, or even print out your list to bring to the record store! Currently you have to click through one by one to buy them, but we hope to create a group-buy at some point.
    You can also see your thumbs up on any of your stations by clicking on the small triangle next to the station name in the left-hand station menu, and then choosing “edit this station”.
    From there you can check out the artists/songs you’ve added to the station as seeds and review the songs you marked as thumbs up and down.
    I’ll pass along your suggestion for keeping track of all past thumbs ups in one place. :)
    Casey -
    Great suggestion!
    For now, the best way to create a political lyrics station is to make it based on a number of individual songs that exemplify the lyrical content you’re looking for. Stations based on an artist name will usually cover a broader range as Pandora tries to cover the artist’s full range.
    Look here (http://blog.pandora.com/faq/index.html#88) for more info on creating and tuning Pandora stations.
    jdupree -
    I’ll have our Support Team contact you! (pandora-support@pandora.com)
    Cheers!
    Lucia

  18. Hi Greg -
    Sorry about that!
    We’re caught in a complicated set of licensing rules that were designed for the world of pop songs and ignore the realities of how Classical music is presented by the record labels.
    One rule prevents us from playing a number of consecutive tracks from the same album. Unfortunately many labels choose to divide longer classical movements into separate tracks. We’re required to treat each track as a separate “song”. The result is as you describe. We’re torn between offering portions of fine performances of outstanding music and not offering those works at all. Meanwhile, we’re always on the lookout for CD’s where the movements are not chopped up.
    Thanks for the thoughtful feedback! :) Lucia, from Pandora

  19. I really like Pandora. I’ve only been using it a short time and my stations play pretty much what I want them to. Sometimes though I’ll thums down a couple songs and then it will start playing stuff way off, but then it gets back on track after awhile the more I rate songs. But I do agree with the others. I think reworking the banning process would be cool. There are artist I like, but those artist do have songs that would cause me to thums down that artist more then three times. But it sounds like a tricky subject. I know its all about the artist, music and great music features, but it would be cool if we were able to personalize our Pandora page. Not all crazy personalizing like Myspace, but just to be able to set back ground colors and the general page set up woulb be cool and make it more my station. But I thinh Pandora is a great product and that its free is awesome.

  20. Thanks for the clarifications on this wonderfully ambituous project. I look forward to the inclusion of more language-based attributes (similar to “Portuguese Language” or “French Lyrics”)–these seem important for catching essential differences on the international scene. I bet this isn’t really part of the overall project, but sometimes I’d like to be able to use the genes or attributes themselves to construct a station rather than songs and artists.

  21. Thanks Larry!
    Great comments and suggestions. Thanks for listening to Pandora!
    rhetrix -
    Interesting ideas; thanks!
    I’ll share these ideas with the team.
    Cheers!
    Lucia

  22. Lucia,
    Thank you for fielding our questions and concerns. Overall because of the wonderful nature of the music selection, smooth music playing with no audio interruption, and the like I have made this my new online music home. I am willing to bear the UI difficulties at times and be patient with the gaps…I did see the Good Time come up today. I’m very happy about that.
    Typos do happen…and I’ll send an e-mail in. I just found it interesting that the album was spelled one way and the title single track on the album spelled (or spelt) another way. Ah, the joys of the English language, how do I love thee. :-)
    Y’all are doing an excellent job.
    Thanks again and cheers–
    –John

  23. I don’t know if this has ever come up, but might it be possible in the near future to allow users to REALLY create their own radio station, i.e. we pick and choose artists/songs pandora has available, make a playlist or have pandora play it on random whenever someone clicks to listen? I know that strays from the purpose of pandora a bit, but I don’t know of any other sites that will let you do that.

  24. Is there any way to make stations more random?
    For instance, I have a station with blues and rock bands. It plays 7 blues songs in a row, then 7 rock songs in a row. It will switch genres when I thumbs down a song, but I don’t like doing that because I end thumbs downing songs I like. I wish it would scatter them out more.
    Is this possible?

  25. The default “ZZZ” option needs to be 3 months.
    (Or at least give the extra options of “Don’t play this song for 3 months” and “Don’t play this song ever again”)

  26. Thanks for the comments and suggestions. :)
    durka -
    Normally stations play songs in sets of four. If you want a more random playlist, just use QuickMix, which doesn’t have sets at all.
    So if you have 1 blues station and 1 rock station… mix them in QuickMix, and it’ll play 1 blues song, then 1 rock song, etc.
    Enjoy!
    Lucia

  27. Not sure why this is, but seems like I’ll here the same song 3 or 4 times a day. Now, I like the song, but I don’t need to hear it that often.
    But now my only choice is not to play it for a month? How do you go from once every few hours, to once in a month?
    Can’t we have a choice of say, once a day, or every other day? Seems like it’s either way too much or way too little.

  28. New Thought..New Question
    I enjoy Pandora so much. If XM Radio can be in our cars..how soon before Pandora Radio can do the same?

  29. Are there plans to make Pandora available on Windows Mobile phones like the ATT Tilt?

  30. New subscriber, great site. Thank you! But,I see a hole. North America, ok, but why not Hawaiian Jahwaiian before Egyptian reggae? Jahwaiian Reggae is vibrant, vital, and close to the culture as a lively up, conscious, local music.
    And Hawaiian contemporary and traditional is as vital a regional American music as New Orleans R&B, Detroit Rock, Southeastern country, Misissippi River blues, Acadian acoustic, or any other genre of American music. IZ, Hapa, Ledward Kaapana, Kapena, The Makaha Sons, Jay Laren,Bla Pahinui, Gabby Pahinui, Butch Heiliamano, Jerry Santos, Keola Beamer, the younger dudes, and all the Slack Key Masters, the Hawaiian chanters, the cross Pacific Island mix, and yes, many highly professional “tourist hotel” groups deserve more play. Many visitors “get it” and take it back. So, why not kick back too, chill, and listen in peace on Pandora…Aloha, shaka, (yah, I’m Haole) and thank you.

  31. I’ve been wondering if somehow pandora could be loaded into a computer as an application with its own small separate player so you don’t have to run it in firefox or Internet Explorer but like Windows Media Player and Realplayer. Just a future suggestion to make Pandora a little more easier to use rather than having the web browser.

  32. Tim,
    Love the site; almost too much. I’m now leaving the US for the Middle East and am dreading having to live without it. I know it will take time and numerous legal battles, but when do you think you’ll be letting people listen from abroad, either from Europe, the Middle East or anywhere else? I’d just like to know the estimated time frame that you guys have, just to keep the hope alive that I will one day listen to Pandora again…
    *sniff*
    Missing you already,
    Chris

  33. Thank you for Pandora, even with the learning curve. Until today I did not know two thumbs downs would eliminate an artist. Maybe a choice for “not this station”? 1. My requests is for the search portion – I would like to enter “minor key tonality” and see either artists or songs which have that designaton – even better would be to use “+” for the combinations you know you like. 2. Is it possible to do a quick mix on a single station with a variety of seeds? I am trying to figure out how to keep it from opening with music similar to the first seed – is there a way to move seeds up and down?

  34. This is awesome! I am so glad you are providing this service. I love all the music so keep my favorite songs coming.

  35. you are cuuute, anywaysss, I have no questions, did anybody ever tell you that you look like Lorenzo Lamas? yeap…you do, thanks for Pandora, great tool. Keep up the good work, I loooooove it!!!