Analyst Spotlight: Meet Danny Eisenberg, the Music Analyst Who Analyzed Pandora’s 1 Millionth Track

A fun fact that not every Pandora fan might know is that every song on Pandora is listened to and analyzed by an actual human being. We have a department of some 25 Musical Analysts whose job it is to continually enrich and expand Pandora’s catalog of music and comedy. These individuals, all of whom are trained and accomplished musicians themselves, manually analyze each track across up to 450 individual musical attributes.

These attributes cover every detail of melody, harmony, rhythm, form, instrumentation, and vocal performance – representing the musical “DNA” of a track and creating the fundamental data set that drives the Music Genome Project. The process can take anywhere from 15 minutes for a simple 3-minute pop song, to over an hour for a symphonic piece. We think these talented Music Analysts deserve a little extra Pandora love, so we are starting a new blog series to spotlight them on a monthly basis.

DannyE.JPGThe first Analyst Spotlight is an eight-year Pandora veteran who recently analyzed Pandora’s 1 millionth song, a track called “If We Live” by Walk The Sun, which appears on the “Occupy This Album”. With his musical expertise in piano and organ, Bay Area-native Danny Eisenberg has toured internationally and contributed to several bands over the years, including The Mother Hips, Counting Crows, Shelby Lynne, Penelope Houston, Tift Merritt, Jonathan Richman, and Girls. When asked about analyzing the 1 millionth song Danny said, “It’s a fun thing to say, but honestly we all analyze a lot of songs here. It was just the luck of the draw.”

As you can imagine, Danny is full of interesting stories. Here are a few tidbits from our conversation with him last week:

How did you get into music?

My earliest memory of playing music was when I was little, banging on pots and pans with my brother and sister. I later transitioned to the piano…which is still my instrument of choice…that and the Hammond organ.

What is your favorite tour story?

I spent some time on the road as Ryan Adams‘ keyboard player. While touring with Ryan Adams, we opened for the Rolling Stones. After one of our sets, we were walking off the stage and the head of security for the Stones, who looked exactly like Alfred Hitchcock, said in a thick British accent, “Congratulations gentlemen…you just opened for the Rolling Stones!” That was just a really cool moment.

Screen Shot 2012-07-10 at 9.01.03 AM.pngWhat is the last thing you ate?

Breakfast, provided by Pandora. I had an Illy double cappuccino, green tea, blueberries, nectarines, strawberries and non-fat Greek yogurt with almonds and honey. My team is having an “Iggy Pop abs contest” so I’m still trying to work on my portion control.

Does being a music analyst affect how you listen to music?

I listen to music when I get up and when I get home, but analyzing is a muscle. It’s like working out when you’re tired – it takes effort.

What do you listen to on a bad day to cheer you up?

I listen to jazz a lot at home. I love Oscar Peterson, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis. I also really love gospel music, but when I get home I usually want to hear jazz.

How has Pandora changed since you first started in 2004?

Pandora has definitely grown a lot since I started, but now what’s really cool is that I feel like I’m making a difference in people’s lives. Just the other day, a woman who works at the grocery store I go to was gushing to me about how much she loves Pandora. It felt really good.

Danny is a musician’s musician and when he’s not analyzing songs for Pandora he’s gigging and recording with talented pop, country and rock n’ roll performers. Stay tuned to learn more about Pandora’s Music Analysts.

-Laura

The Pandora Local Team

Sales Marketing http://www.pandora.com/profile/lauracwoods

7 thoughts on “Analyst Spotlight: Meet Danny Eisenberg, the Music Analyst Who Analyzed Pandora’s 1 Millionth Track

  1. Awesome. Thanks Danny for all you do. The music analysts at Pandora are incredible, and it’s the one area of the company I want to know a lot more about. I love that these guys keep chugging away at adding songs to the system. It’s ultimately the most important job at Pandora.
    No other music company will ever be able to touch Pandora’s Music Genome Project. It’s the huge differentiator that sets this company apart. Instead of a playlist randomly generated by genre, or set up by a lame DJ, Pandora analyzes 400+ musical traits…the DNA of music! I can’t adequately express how appreciative I am for this. Thank you Danny, and all other musicologists!
    Also, I hope Pandora continues to add songs at a swift rate, including more classical music. :) I’d love to hear how the company decides which songs to add, how to prioritize new songs to be added (by genre?), and which music analysts get assigned which tracks (do the musicologists specialize in certain genres?).

  2. I would like to thank all you guys at Pandora. Pandora One is the highlight of my day. I play it in the office at work. On my Ipad when I relax outside my home. And also on my Home Pc when I chill with the guys chatting on the net.
    Also I have found out some much about myself and my taste of music. Pandora has opened me to other artist I would of never otherwise listened too. And the biggest bonus is its all on 1 station. No need to turn the dial. Its all there, 24/7.
    Thanks again.

  3. Dear Danny,
    I just happened to read a review about you on my ASCAP daily brief and I see that you mentioned how you like the fact that you are helping musicians like me. When I tell people they can hear my music on PANDORA they usually ask, ‘ how did you do that’….now I know someone behind the scenes who possibly helped me get my music on board.
    Most of my life I have been in the education field. Writing and recording music was not something I thought I would ever do. The experience has been rewarding in so many ways and PANDORA is definitely a huge part for me.
    Thank-you and have a great day!
    rada neal

  4. Hey, congrats on 1,000,000 and all the amazing stuff you all do at Pandora! I am exec producer of Occupy This Album and am honored to be the one millionth track! Please though correct the name of the band in this article, asthe correct name is “Build The Sun”. Thanks! Be well, and congrats again!

  5. Tom Wilson and Josh Finlayson co-produced the album titled “A Quiet Evil.” The band – Lee Harvey Osmond, contained a number of original members from The Cowboy Junkies. During the past few years they have opened, collaborated and performed with The Cowboy Junkies. “LHO” is an extraordinarily talented group of musicians by any name…even Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Tom Wilson’s album, “Dog Years” is not too shabby either.
    “A Quiet Evil?” This writer strongly recommends a listen for those willing to experience something noticeably different and emotionally inspiring. And possibly, according to Pandora’s “Bureau of Arrogant Standards and Wrongness Identification,” wrongly recommended by a professional masochist. I can’t stand it anymore!
    Thank you, Pandora, for your willingness to share such abundant expertise.

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