Viewer Mail – How Do I Get More Variety On My Stations?

We get asked these questions often: How can my stations have more variety? My station plays the same songs — how can I expand the repertoire?
The video below answers that, as well as this one: How can I hear the maximum number of songs by one artist?
If you have any questions that you’d like to have answered, just flip on your webcam or other video camera, tell us your name and where you’re from, and then record yourself asking the question. Then, send us that video file and we’ll do our best to answer your question on-camera.
<!– –>

Embed this video:

Download file
For questions answered elsewhere please check our FAQ, but also please explore: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
We’re also pleased to announced our new Pandora channel on YouTube. Subscriptions are free; just click on the yellow button in the left nav once you get there.

Pandora

The Pandora Team http://www.pandora.com/

25 thoughts on “Viewer Mail – How Do I Get More Variety On My Stations?

  1. OKAY, so I’ve got a question that doesn’t seem to be addressed here… Pandora appears to have an era bias. If, for example, I select a Bob Dylan song as a seed, I will get tons of songs by the Rolling Stones and Donovan, and several others from the era, but almost nothing (or nothing at all) from today. I have a difficult time believing that fairly progressive music from the 60s and 70s has nothing in common with any music at all from today.
    I’ve tried to combat this by adding, for example, ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ and a very modern style of folk, like Califone, and this seems to give Pandora schizophrenia, where it will either play songs similar to Dylan, or songs similar to Califone. It does NOT appear to be using the attributes of the two songs together. Can anyone comment on this? Is there a way to force Pandora play songs that are ‘genetically’ similar to Bob Dylan, but from the 2000’s? Does Pandora actually hybridize song genetics by playing music that is simultaneously like two different selections, or is it merely looking for songs that are similar to one song OR (as opposed to one song AND) the other at any given time?
    PLEASE HELP!!

  2. i have been searching and could not find anywhere if it is mentioned whether pandora one also allows you to skip songs more times per hour than free pandora or at all

  3. Although you addressed one aspect of hearing the maximum number of songs from an artist on a station your solution tends to work for a limited period of time. After four hours I find that pandora starts to replay songs that played in the previous four hours even if there are many more songs from the seed artist and many more songs that are like the ones by the seed artist. So not only are the seed artist’s songs replayed after four hours so are songs from other artists.
    It would be great if one could adjust the song replay value for a station. Even if the station has to make selections which are further from the seed artist, I’d rather have that than repeats.

  4. is there any way to lose live music from my lists? i don’t want to thumbs-down a good stooges tune (etc), but it’s a live track and the quality is total dogsh!t. so wtf should i do?

  5. @LYNCH — Click on number “8” above, and there’s a video that explains that. Also viewable from this link if you’d rather cut and paste:
    http://blog.pandora.com/pandora/archives/2009/05/tim_answers_vie_2.html
    @RyGuy — our matching is done song-by-song, yes. So if you want late Dylan, make a station from a late Dylan track and it will hem closer to that song’s era. A Bob Dylan artist station will jump through time, but probably will hem closer to his early years. In general, stations based on songs are better for that.
    @Tony — good suggestion, I will share it with the crew. Thanks.

  6. i love the thumbs up/down buttons, but what could be a cool addition would something like an “awesome” button that you could click for a song you’d never get sick of hearing in your mix. just a thought, an awesome thought. love pandora, keep up the good work.

  7. i was just listening to my shinedown station on pandora. i was so excited that my favorite song ever “simple man” came on that i ran over to press the ‘i like this’ button and i accidently pushed ‘i dont like this’ button! well i was able to change it to the right one but now it skipped the song and i was pretty upset that i dont get to hear it. it would have been cool if i could go back to the song and replay it but i couldnt! just a suggestion.. thanks for the cool free station though.

  8. Ilisten to pandora radio,often,I’ve found vocalists,such as baritones group nicely in vocalist stations,most high variety vocalists,use ballads to convey there music.instrumental muscians use a dogma thats just right for the listener,usaully long seranades or quick melodies
    w/ a lick.good work Pandora, I love the new site. TY

  9. @mike stoll — We’ve been looking at graded thumbs. A “sorta like,” “really love,” “sorta dislike” and “really can’t stand.” Thanks for the suggestion.
    @ashley — Our hands are tied, alas, when it comes to replaying songs. That would be on-demand, and not radio, so legally as a radio service we can’t do that. In that case, it’s really best to buy “Simple Man” as a download, so that you can listen to it whenever you’d like.

  10. @Kev: I don’t want music from that era though. I want music from today that is similar. Would it be possible to implement a way to specify a range of years you’d prefer to hear music from? If I wanted to hear bands exclusively from 2000 to now that have genetic commonalities with the talking heads for example. I don’t need the music genome project to tell me that the Jam is similar to the Clash; any idiot can tell you that. I’m interested in music that I’m not necessarily expecting to hear.
    PS. I second the idea of “really can’t stand.” If I never hear another Donovan song ever again, it will be much too soon.

  11. @Ry: Well, in the case of Dylan, sure, just base the station on a tune from his Together Through Life album, which came out in 2009.
    In the case of the Talking Heads, this is a little trickier, as their last full-length was in the late ’80s. If you can find a single modern song that is particularly Heads-ish, base it on that. Might I suggest “Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away” by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah? That song sounds a lot like early Talking Heads to me:
    http://www.pandora.com/music/song/clap+your+hands+say+yeah/let+cool+goddess+rust+away

  12. Ok, this isn’t really related to this post, but I am not sure where to send comments and complaints..
    The new 40 hour limit sucks, but is understandable – I mean, we are getting free music. And I would be more than happy to pay the dollar a month. But is there a way to pay it all at once? Like, 11.88 for the year?
    Another thing I recently ran across…A bookmarking limit! This is one I do NOT understand; why can’t I bookmark as many songs as I want? It doesn’t cost you anything, right? All I am doing is adding it to my profile.
    The skip limit has always been annoying but, again, very understandable – except now I can’t just go to a new station and skip over there – the skip limit applies to ALL my stations? Why?
    Do these things also happen if I pay?

  13. Amazing and wonderful……you guys are the best!! So far I have absolutely no complaints, and I love the concept………..thanks mucho, WC

  14. I will no longer be using Pandora. I have been listening to Pandora for well over a year and will not pay to listen to music over the internet. And it’s really to bad because I have really enjoyed Pandora.

  15. OMFg this is the best internet radio site ever! I love it soooo much. I get to listwen to my fav songs and then you go and find songs simlar to those(do you know how much work that is?) Thank you for making this site X3

  16. Kevin,
    I’ve managed to create a really great, multi-genre rock station, meaning it plays the right sub-genres, doesn’t go off the track, and plays a high percentage of my thumbs-upped songs. I’ve got so many thumbs-up on it, that I can’t really say that the following crit applies to this station.
    The crit is that I have a couple of ‘contempory’ bluegrass stations, one of them created by seeding it with the Be Good Tanyas and a few songs that fit this relatively narrow genre. I’ve held off thumbing down a lot of stuff, and just sleeped them, since so many artists were utterly new to me, and I didn’t want to end up with a two-thumbs-downed-artist before I found a good song. So a lot of artists and songs play, and the thumbs-upped songs play far more rarely on this station than others. But the worst problem is that a sub-set of thumbed-up songs play repeatedly over time, and a set of thumbed-up songs never seem to play AT ALL. I know that the seeds and thumbs-up/down drive the song selection, but if a song is thumbed-up, it should have an ever-increasing preference to play based on idle-time, so that even if it is totally outside the preferred selection criteria, it will eventually play.
    BTW, my techniques of discovering music on Pandora are completely useless unless I sign up for One, which I did. You have to be able to thumb-down, sleep, or otherwise skip in order to discover music you like in anything like a week or month time-frame. As it is, even on One, the restrictions limit new-music discovery to something like a handful of songs per month unless I go outside Pandora.
    It would be nice to have a longer sleep period, or a series of preferences for a station that includes things like sleep duration, genre-weighting, sleep-reset, and a whole host of other tweaks. I’d love to see a switch for whether two-thumbs down causes the artist to be banned, or a pref for how many thumbs-down it takes to ban an artist.
    Regarding variable-weight thumbs, how about either a no-play thumbs-up, meaning the song is GREAT, ITS PERFECT, IT’S EXACTLY WHAT THIS STATION SHOULD PLAY, except it should never, ever play on this station again, due the fact that it uses explicit language, but doesn’t get filtered out by your system, or otherwise offends me in a non-genome-specific way. A no-weight Thumbs down would also be useful, since there are songs that are kind of BLAH, but thumbing them down would tend to push the station away from the flavor I’m trying to engineer. Some songs can have all the right genes, and still hit a sour note!!
    It would also be nice if Pandora added the means to add a song from the song’s Pandora page directly to a station’s seed or thumb-up list. Besides cutting down on the two-step process of searching Pandora, and then jumping over to add the song on your station page, it will help with the fact that the song-seed Add function doesn’t work well at adding certain songs on Pandora. Specifically it falls down on songs that include ‘(live)’ in the name, or have very long, involved names, such as is common with classical music and operas. Even if you copy and paste the EXACT name of the song, the Add function fails to ‘find’ the song.

  17. I use Pandora often. Today I saw the ad. for a desktop version. I was prepared to buy hoping that its performance will be better. But then I saw it is based on Adobe AIR. Flash and AIR suck. Many times I see when I have Pandora open, my browser (Firefox 3.5.2 or IE8) is using a lot of memory and using a lot of CPU, typical problems with Flash.
    If it was based on Silverlight or something better, I would have bought it today.

  18. Following my exploration, billions of people on our planet get the mortgage loans from well known creditors. Hence, there’s good possibilities to find a collateral loan in every country.