Hail to the King!

As we celebrate what would have been Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday, it’s crucial to remember four important sentences once sung by Mojo Nixon:

“Elvis is everywhere. Elvis is everything. Elvis is everybody. Elvis is still The King.”

Maybe Nixon wasn’t aware of it at the time, but the chorus of this 1987 recording can also be juxtaposed to the four main eras of Elvis.

Elvis is everywhere.

elvisrocknrollThis perfectly describes young Elvis. Memphis Elvis. In 1954 Sam Phillips rolled tape at Sun Studios of Elvis recording Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right (Mama).” By blending blues, honky tonk and rockabilly; Elvis changed the game. For a while it looked like teenagers and rock ‘n’ roll might just take over the world. Suddenly this young blue-eyed, pelvis-swaying sensation was everywhere. He was omnipresent. Read More →

Looking Back On The Music Of 2014, Genre By Genre

What’s most memorable about your favorite music of 2014? Jog your memory by diving into one of Pandora’s many End Of Year stations. If you like the mainstream music across pop, rock, country, Christian, dance and regional Mex – then this blog is for you.

Ever wonder what the number one songs are based on your thumbs? Here’s a review of the top songs of the year on Pandora. Let’s start with some of the highlights of 2014 Top Pop:

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 6.55.12 PM OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” kicked off 2014 in the number one spot, but five-and-a-half months later Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” bumped it by a nose. She held that position for two months before two new artists that own a big piece of pop music in 2014 made their mark. Ariana Grande’s “Problem” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” stayed at number one for three weeks. But don’t get too comfy Iggy, because here comes Sam the man! The week of July 24, the uplifting gospel-infused “Stay with Me” from Sam Smith settled in at number one…that is until October 22, when Meghan Trainor, a Nashville newcomer gave us arguably the most infectious song of the year with “All About That Bass.” But Jeremih’s “Don’t Tell Em,” which still holds the first place spot, quickly displaced that three weeks later. R&B influenced ballads ruled in 2014 with huge hits from John Legend, Sam Smith, Hozier and now George Ezra coming on strong. Sam Smith is an amazing solo story this year along with the mainstream success of “Latch” and “La La La” but the male singer-songwriter with unbelievable worldwide appeal is Ed Sheeran. Also, Sia is Wonder Woman! She writes great songs – “Diamonds,” “Titanium,” “Wild Ones” and man, what a voice! “Chandelier” and now the new Annie soundtrack? And of course, Taylor Swift said goodbye to country and Spotify, entering the pop realm with “Shake It Up.” Now it looks like “Blank Space” will be even bigger. Read More →

Hitting Refresh: An Update to our UI

In order to achieve our company vision of unleashing the infinite power of music, we are continually innovating and iterating. We constantly evolve both our technology and design to provide the best music platform for listeners, advertisers and artists.

Today, I’m very excited to unveil our latest innovation, the beta release of Pandora’s Station Personalisation interface on iOS and Android. The design of this latest update is part of our ongoing dedication to innovate the UX and UI across platforms, and as a result, provide effortless music discovery and listening for more than 75 million listeners each month.


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Artists on Pandora: Introducing AMP

Heat map for AMP blogWhen I was about 28, a band I was in drove 1,098 miles from San Francisco to Telluride, Colorado to play a club gig. It was our first trip to the state and we were excited to be on the road. We arrived just a few hours before soundcheck, and we spent that time putting flyers on telephone polls and walking around town spreading the word, passing out printed invitations. About 15 people showed up for the gig. Read More →

Honoring The Legacy Of Robin Williams

To be a standup comic in the San Francisco Bay Area is to live in Robin Williams’ shadow. He lived here. He came up here, performing in the legendary Purple Onion and Holy City Zoo comedy clubs. Every so often, my Facebook and Twitter feeds would light up with posts reading “ROBIN WILLIAMS IS AT MY SHOW” or “Robin Williams saw my set and told me I was funny!” or simply a photo of an open miker, beaming next to a comedy demigod who looks exactly as kind in reality as he did on the big screen in his Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting “inspirational teacher roles.”

Robin_WilliamsI never met Robin Williams. Not once. I never found myself standing in a room with him, and even if I had, I doubt I would have approached him. I don’t take photos with celebrities, as a rule—it always feels self-serving and weird to me, a strange visual humblebrag that my Midwestern upbringing tells me is inappropriate. And what on earth would I have said to Robin Williams? “Hey, I’m a comedian, too, sort of. I have a day job, but someday I’m going to quit, and then I’ll be a real comedian, like you.” That, too, feels gross—if I couldn’t tell Robin Williams “I’m a comedian,” full stop, with no qualifications, then I wasn’t really a comedian. I would wait. I would become a real comedian. And I would run into him some other time, later.

I thought I had more time. We all did. Read More →

Pandora hits 2 million registered users in Australia and New Zealand!

I am very excited to announce today that Pandora has crossed the 2 million registered listener mark across Australia and New Zealand! We’re incredibly excited.

When we first entered the ANZ market, we had no idea what would happen; it was like starting from scratch all over again. But the response was amazing. We hit the 1 million registered milestone in one year, and now just seven months later that number has doubled. And all by word of mouth. Wow.

It’s clear that listeners are embracing this more personalized and engaging form of radio. Internet radio not only offers a station for every listener, regardless of their music taste, it also is home to tens of thousands of artists that never get played on any other form of radio – a great platform for discovery – including for the thousands of indie bands in the region that we’ve been adding fast and furiously to the Music Genome Project (by the way, we’d love your suggestions).

With nearly 100 million pieces of “thumb” feedback already from local listeners, we’re rapidly improving the service for the Aussie and Kiwi sensibility. The song choices and personalization are getting better by the minute. Hopefully you’re noticing that!

It’s also great to see so many people adopting mobile and other connected devices for listening. Already, over 75% of our hours are spent on something other than a desktop computer.

Thank you for such a warm embrace. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it were not for the listeners telling their loved ones, friends or even a stranger on the bus about our music discovery service. We owe it all to you and will do everything we can to give you the greatest possible listening experience, for years to come.

Thank you from everyone here at Pandora.

Cheers.

Tim (Founder)

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Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Some of this week’s newest music and genre station highlights on Pandora, fresh from our curation team!

Artist Debuts 

Ian Edwards

Ian Edwards’ debut album 100% Half-Assed is the very first release from Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco Records, which is “committed to championing groundbreaking comedy, in the tradition of “CONAN” on TBS.”  Edwards describes his comedy as “edgy, observational humor with a point of view,” which he applies to a variety of topics including veganism, his Jamaican roots, and Bruce Lee. Edwards is a prolific actor and writer, as well as the host of podcasts Soccer Comics and The Preposterous Sessions.

Bok Bok

Night Slugs co-founder Bok Bok takes a new direction, combining his roots in Bass and Grime with the chilled out sounds of R&B and Funk. He’s calling the results R&G — Rhythm & Grime. The EP Your Charizmatic Self leads off with “Melba’s Call”, where nasty synth sounds collide with analog drum claps, creating a perfect instrumental bed for vocalist Kelela. “Howard” sounds like an 80’s Boogie B-Side remixed with the rumble of Bok Bok’s infamous sub bass. The remaining tracks slow down, bringing you into the chilled out world of Night Slug’s latest creation.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 9.25.41 AMCasey Shea

In the spirit of Emitt Rhodes, Joey Stec, Chris Bell, Dwight Twilley, Harry Nilsson and Todd Rundgren – Casey Shea is a top-shelf tune-smith specializing in orchestral power-pop. His music is as timeless, moving and catchy as any of his influences.

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Inside The Collection: A Rocker Falls In Love With 70s Country Rock

Has an album ever changed your life? During my mid 20s, I was accidentally introduced to the music of Gram Parsons, the founder of what he called “cosmic American music,” or more broadly, Country Rock. I was deep in a rock-n-roll only phase when I discovered this music by way of Dinosaur Jr. covering “Hot Burrito #2.” This was a song by Parsons’ oddly named band The Flying Burrito Brothers. I bought the first two albums of that band and my curiosity about Parsons grew.

When I first heard this music I remember thinking many things. How had I not heard this before? Was there similar sounding stuff out there? I always assumed I’d hate the music my dad loved, but these songs made country music make sense.

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Curator Eric Shea at the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Nashville

Parsons’ career path catapulted him through some of the most popular bands of the late 60s. He helped The Byrds go country with Sweetheart Of The Rodeo before running off with Byrds’ bassist Chris Hillman. They bought some flashy, hippie, cowboy suits and formed The Flying Burrito Brothers. Parsons purportedly left the Burritos after just one year.

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Android Users: Pandora is Now Available on Your Pebble Watch!

Last month, we announced that you could download Pandora in the Pebble app store for iOS.  We’ve already seen a great response to the first “wearable” technology device that Pandora is available on, so we’re thrilled to share that the Pebble app is now available for Android smartphone users as well.

pebble

Just like on iOS, Android users can now view and change stations, thumb songs up and down, skip, play and pause tracks using your Pebble.  If you already have a Pebble that is paired to your mobile device, you should get a notification that you can install the Pandora for Pebble app, or you can start the install process at any time from the Pebble Settings Page. Read More →

Inside the Collection: Western Swing

Most times, the first things you’ll notice are the hiss, pops and crackles of the antiquated fidelity. The genre’s earlier recordings are delightfully haunting – as if you’re hearing ghosts play scratchy old records. And then the slide guitars and fiddles sound like they’re laughing joyously over buoyant rhythms. But when those bouncy horns, piano and guitars saunter in; that’s when you’re hearing some top-shelf Western Swing. And should some cartoonish vocals pipe-in with a high-pitched, “A-ha!” you can be certain that you’re listening to Bob Wills, the king of Western Swing.Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 12.12.51 PM

Every few years I go through a Bob Wills phase – and by proxy, a Western Swing phase. Subsequently, I just updated Pandora’s Country & Western Swing station with a bunch of my all-time favorite tunes from this realm (as well as some Classic Country and Honky-Tonk for complimentary flavor). Read More →