On the One ———- big changes/small steps ———- Vol. 1

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Over the last year and a half substantial changes were made to the Pandora listening experience. While we’re constantly improving the playlist algorithm, analyzing new music, etc., it’s rare for Pandora to make such a huge change to the music genome as was completed on our Electronic Music genome. In the last 18 months, not only did we greatly expand the size and quality of our electronic catalog, but we also upgraded the analysis process — reanalyzing over 42,000 tracks along the way.
The analysis upgrade consisted of three steps. The first was enabling the music genome to more accurately catalog the subtleties and compositional techniques of Electronic Music. We did this by recognizing new genes ranging from arpeggiated synthesizers to build-ups and breakdowns. With these new genes in hand there was a nasty problem: none of our previously analyzed tracks contained data for them. The only solution was to go back and reanalyze them. Yes, all 42,000 of them!
This second step in the upgrade process involved a team of music analysts working for over three months. If the average track length was four minutes, that’s over 2,700 hours of music reanalyzed!!! Yes, our ears and brains were quite sore when all was said and done, but we haven’t stopped. Our Electronic Music collection currently contains over 66,000 analyzed tracks.
Anyway, the third and final step in the upgrade was making sense of this new data by adjusting the importance of each gene and how it interacts with its neighbors. This process can best be described as taste testing. We had the basic formula down, but to achieve that seemingly elusive, most delicious blend, took many late nights and countless tweaks. A little heavier on the synth effects and a tad less vocal vibrato, a pinch more harmony and a touch less backbeat…
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With the Dance Genome now having more dexterity to analyze the electronic soundscape, and the ability to generate more specialized playlists, it was time to populate our collection. The primary aim here was to get a good sampling of everything being spun by DJs in clubs, bumped at backyard BBQs, played in retail locations, or geeked out on headphones — the whole spectrum of Electronic music. With the DJ/Electronic music boutiques and music megastores having migrated to the Internet, to places such as iTunes, Amazon, Beatport, Traxsource, Juno, Stompy, Turntable Lab, DJ Hut (to name just a few… the list could go on), this process was actually quite efficient (and enjoyable!). In our effort to maintain a collection that is deep and diverse, the digital only online boutiques have been essential. Once hard-to-find singles, remixes, unmixed DJ-friendly compilations, instrumental versions of Hip Hop albums, and out of print classics are a few clicks away. Although, at times, I do miss the good ole days of waking up at noon and thumbing through massive stacks of records at Amoeba, Housewares, Primal, or Tweekin’ for a small stack of nuggets… that’s a topic for another time.
Today we are pleased to introduce some fruits of this labor, a new lineup of Electronic/Dance genre stations. They are as follows:
Club/Dance
House
Deep House
Progressive/Electro House
Techno
Minimal Techno
Trance
Psy-trance
Hard Dance
Drum & Bass
Liquid Drum & Bass
Dubstep
Funky Breaks
Progressive Breaks
Downtempo
Deep Beats
Trip Hop
Global Chill
Turntablism & Beat Science
Indie Dance/Electro
Bmore, Bass & Baile
Electronica/IDM
Experimental Electronica
Ambient
We hope you enjoy listening to these stations as much as we enjoyed curating them. Over the next few months we’ll be making adjustments and fine tuning them a bit. So if you have any feedback, now is the time. Whether it’s on a particular genre station or one of your own stations, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.
Chris Horgan [senior music analyst]
Michael Addicott [dance collection manager]
BTW — This happens to be the first post in a new blog series on Pandora — On the One. Headed by our dynamic duo of Mike Addicott and Chris Horgan, On the One focuses on the worlds of Dance, Electronic, and Rap music. You can expect posts ranging from the newest rhythms and production styles to musical roots and discussions of underground classics. Let the music play!
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Pandora

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

36 thoughts on “On the One ———- big changes/small steps ———- Vol. 1

  1. Good to see the electronic genre getting explored even deeper. The suggestions in the subgenres are all on point and well thought out. Makes me wanna find my old Cut Chemist vs. Shortcut Live at Future Primitive CD….
    DJ F

  2. 2,700 hours… that’s 112.5 days… about three and a half months’ worth of continuous music. Dang…
    Congratulations on the refreshed Genome, guys! Those new stations are great. Particularly liking the “Progressive Breaks” one.

  3. Great update, thanks for the information. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of the genres you’ve listed here, but I still think its great that you’re tweaking things for improvement. I’m a firm believer that some of the things you learn will help out with the genres that float my boat and Pandora in general.
    Thanks for all of the hard work. I think you folks are amazing and it seems like you put a lot of love into what you do.

  4. GREAT job. I’ve grown to enjoy electronic downtempo, ambient, triphop, etc for sleeping and to listen to while at work as it doesn’t distract but just helps “chill” me out.
    I appreciate your hard work into this and will take a look at your stations. I’ll probably find some great new music!

  5. You have revolutionized my music experience. i finally upgraded and gave you the much deserved money i’ve been meaning to for a long time!! thank you thank you for creating pandora.

  6. Is it just me, or is it impossible to get to any of these stations directly from the Pandora One player? Kind of strange that I have to go back to the old web-based player to add any of these.
    Also, please, I beg you, give me a way to see which station from the QuickMix is currently playing in Pandora One and the iPhone player. Without that, it’s very hard to tell which station I might want to delete when stuff that I don’t like is coming up.
    Don’t say the UI is too small or that it’s unimportant… come on, there’s plenty of room if you’ll admit it’s a significant issue.

  7. incandenza –
    Regarding your concerns with the Pandora One desktop app – both of the issues you mentioned (no genre stations and no station ID for quick mix) are known issues and are on the list of features to be included in future releases of the desktop app. So yes – these are significant issues and are being addressed.

  8. DJ F – I’m looking at that disc right now, and several more like it. Return of the DJ Vol. 1,2 and Z-Trip and Radar live at futrue Primitive. Look for tracks from these and more like them on the Turntablism & Beat Science station.

  9. chorgan, thank you for your response.
    I had written to your support people previously about the QuickMix issue, and they said something like, maybe we’ll think about it but it’s too hard because the UI is so small, etc. Overall it sounded like they didn’t think it was too important. So I’m glad to hear otherwise from you.
    Also, of course it would be appreciated if this change made it to the iPhone app as well (only belaboring the point here since you didn’t specifically mention it).
    Thanks for your work on these products.

  10. Great Work..!!!! I have been listening to almost all of these electronic genre stations..they are simple amazing…

  11. You guys do an absolutely sterling job, my cousin is dying to tune in but can’t as he is currently staying in the UK, what’s up with that?
    Medical ID Bracelets keeping you safe.

  12. Wait a sec. Youse guys sit around all day, listening to the best music in the world (& probably some less than best), think up cool names for each one’s genes, label them for the project, & I still gotta fork over 99 cents. You rock. Thanks for your intensity. It translates to a great station!

  13. I went to Chatham College in Pgh. and studied under a guy who was an understudy of Alan Lomaxs.
    Lomax donated alot of music work, early recordings and analysis to the Library of Congress.
    Hope that you check with my old prof. If you want his name let me know.
    Merry Lee

  14. To the keepers of Pandora,
    I have been a fan of this website for some years now. It is what keeps me going at work, and has become part of my daily routine. I have noticed a lot of changes with Pandora, some I can live with, others which make me want to find the owner of Pandora and scream! I don’t care that there is an ad every couple songs that is obnoxious or repetitive, or those ads next to the player that are flashy or distracting. I AM REALLY ANNOYED at this new limit on music! 40 hours per month? Who came up with that? Why come up with that? The great thing about Pandora was that it was free internet radio that understood what you liked. The novelty of this service is gone if it is gonna be limited to such an extent that someone like me can’t listen to it for more than a week at work! This idea has been ruined by ads and restrictions, leaving nothing better than Yahoo Launch could offer. Stop the limits on listening! Last I knew, there weren’t any limits on playing music in regular radios, why start now? As to radio stations paying artists for using their music, I disagree with this. Artists get their music around to new listeners through the radio more than any other media. If anything, the artists should be paying the radio stations to play their songs. STOP THE LIMIT ON THE MUSIC!

  15. estradjm –
    I really feel your frustration on the listening cap. I wish it could be free with no ads ever – but there is a ton of work that goes into creating and providing Pandora to you. Every track that plays on Pandora has been analysed through the music genome project, then there are the licensing fees, and also bandwidth costs to deliver the content to you, not to mention software developers and customer support persons to pay. However – once you hit the 40 hour limit – you can listen for the rest of the month for 99 cents. And if you really hate the ads – with Pandora One you can listen to unlimited music with 0 ads, a higher quality audio stream, and unlimited daily skips (still limited to 6 skips per hour per station) for $3 per month. That’s less than the price of a large latte at the local coffee shop and also cheaper than slacker radio plus.
    Regards to paying artists royalties – we have to. It’s the law. We couldn’t stream their music or operate this business without paying royalties. Plus, we respect the work that musicians put into creating all of this great music. It is one of our core beliefs that we should support those musicians fairly and equitably.
    Please feel free to email me or post here with any other questions or concerns.

  16. Where is ASTRIX?
    One of the BEST Psy-Trance Artists and nothing to be found. I hope that this may change very soon.

  17. estradjm,
    I couldn’t believe it either when I saw that Pandora has moved towards limited use and new payment options. It has left me disgusted, shaking my head. I understand that it takes money to run this site, but honestly Pandora? You really can’t meet that with advertising? $0.99 after forty hours seems more like an inconvenience fee…as in Pandora is cashing in on the hopes that most people will begrudgingly shrug their shoulders and pay the $0.99 rather than deal with the incovenience of going without Pandora for part of the month. Maybe they’re not being greedy, and they really do need this money to stay afloat. Either way, I feel no need to deal with it and my experience with Pandora has pretty much come to an end. There are already other sites that have followed Pandora’s lead on offering streaming free music who DON’T charge money…yet. If you want an alternative that has none of the restrictions (at least for now), go to grooveshark.com. It’s the same idea as Pandora with literally none of the restricions. You can search for any song that you can think of, skip as often as you choose, and listen as long as you want…FOR FREE. The autoplay might not be as nice as Pandora’s Genome, but the ability to play any song whenever you want, as often as you want more than makes up for it.

  18. why you dont get every song in that guide http://techno.org/electronic-music-guide/ (well, the albums where the songs are in) and upload in the pandora, that electronic music guide show many artists and songs of the guide in many different electronic music types. That songs in pandora would improve alot pandora (some of the songs on the guide are on pandora, but there are others that dont are on pandora).

  19. I kinda lost track of Pandora, even though I was between the first to try it a few years back. I’m glad it’s still here because I appreciated the music selection quality. I’m gonna use it again for now on.
    Keep up the good work!
    I’m gonna promote it on my Free software reviews blog.

  20. exdeath –
    That is an excellent idea! I get a big kick out of Ishkurs Guide – I dig his cynical sense of humor. But most of all it is a well designed and fun to use guide for all the micro genres of EDM.
    We are actually beginning a large project that focuses on classic/old/obscure – but important – dance music. It’s gonna take a few months to get all of the gems – but we are working on it, and you should see all of the tracks on Ishkurs guide that are available for purchase available on Pandora in the next 6 months.
    If there’s anything else y’all think we should order post here or drop an email to: suggest-music@pandora.com

  21. I’m glad to see electronic music further explored, and I’m curious as to whether Pandora has any plans to delve more deeply into the realm of musique concrete.
    I’ve noticed a few of the artists from this genre on Pandora: Tod Dockstader, Klaus Schulze, Thomas Dimuzio, and a pooling of artists on the OHM compilation, but I’d like to see more of these artists featured, if possible. A few suggestions:
    Arne Nordheim
    Perry Botkin
    William C. Harrington
    Miya Masaoka
    Francis Dhomont
    Donald Swearingen
    Pamela Z
    Pascal Comelade
    Marco Oppedisano
    Roxanne Turcotte
    Paul Dolden
    There’s an entire festival devoted to this kind of music coming up next month, the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, and it would be great for Pandora to investigate its offerings.

  22. Ok chris.
    Another good idea would be upload every song, album and artist listed here on that website:
    http://www.pugachov.ru/eem/ambientguide.html
    The guy on that website split ambient and dark ambient in many forms. They are not sub-genres because dark ambient and ambient are already a sub-genre, they are just ways of doing dark ambient and ambient.
    Uploading the artists on that website would add many forms of dark ambient and would greatly improve the dark ambient and ambient fields.
    Also a another guy made upload videos on youtube based on the text on the website showing some songs of those types of dark ambient.
    Here are the videos.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fLVSVQXRyU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoi_1YC88G8

    Also, the first website have a list of artists here ( http://www.pugachov.ru/eem/ ) with some artists showing the type of the music they play (with a link to the type of music on the other part of the that i said sometimes).
    They list shows only the most important albums so will be easier to pandora guys select what albums upload.

  23. Prem – really good points about musique concrete/or electronic art music. Part of our dance/electronic classics project is greatly increasing out catalog of these works. I’ve got your list and will seek out the recordings!

  24. exdeath
    Good suggestions as well! I get a kick out of all the micro-genres people come up with. I find they are great for describing/understanding music, but can be burdensome when actually building a collection.
    Many of the artists from the sites you mentioned are on our radar to purchase – just like Prems list above – and we will seek them out over the next month or two.
    PS – A good friend of mine makes really great ambient music y’all might enjoy:
    http://www.myspace.com/barelyaudible

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