The Technical Operations staff at Pandora loves the Holiday season; the popularity of seasonal music means that December is one of our busiest months of the year. Now that everyone else is getting back to their normal lives, the Ops team is catching their breath and taking a moment to look back at some of the fun milestones from the end of 2012.
Nina Lee has played cello in the Brentano String Quartet since 1998, a quartet founded in 1992 by four Juilliard graduates who now teach at Princeton, Columbia and Juilliard among others. As a member of a string quartet, Nina believes that the goal, unlike that of musicians in other genres, is to create the closest thing possible to what the composer envisioned. She told me that many times she has wished that she could simply call Beethoven and ask him, “Is this what you meant?”
I was lucky to speak with Lee after she worked on the movie A Late Quartet, debuting November 2nd. The film is inspired by and structured around Beethoven’s Opus 131 String Quartet in C-Sharp minor. A Late Quartet’s director Yaron Zilberman was connected with the Brentano String Quartet because they, like Zilberman, had a fascination with Beethoven’s late quartet pieces and were creating their own project around these works. …
Mike Rosenberg is known by his stage name, Passenger. He is a singer-songwriter from the UK. He stopped by our Oakland office last week and played a few songs for us. I was lucky to speak with Mike after his performance about his life as a musician.
Mike has spent much of his musical career busking. He’s performed on the streets of many cities, playing for whatever by passers stop to listen. Currently, Passenger is touring the US with Ed Sheeran, putting him in front of paying crowds of thousands every night. Mike let us know that he likes both sides of his career. …
Recently, Russ Irwin stopped by our headquarters in Oakland and played a few songs from his new album, Get Me Home, for our Pandora employees. Russ was in town to play Oracle Arena with Aerosmith, a band he’s been touring with for 15 years.
In the second installment of our Analyst Spotlight blog series, we chatted with another longtime Pandora veteran, Scott Pinkmountain, who has been lending his musical ear to the Music Genome Project since 2004 (yes, that’s just about 8 years!).
Scott joined Pandora before “Pandora” existed, when the company was still called Savage Beast Technologies and the Music Genome Project was being put to use as a recommendation system for brick-and-mortar retail stores. In the same way that the company has morphed over the years, so too has Scott’s contribution to Pandora. After several years of working out of an office, he relocated to a 5-acre plot in Pioneer Town, Calif., slightly outside of Joshua Tree National Park. Like many of our music analysts, Scott preferred to continue his Pandora work in a setting that also lent itself to his creative work, mainly music, writing and songwriting.
Scott began his foray into music at age 15 as many do, by playing electric guitar in various garage bands. But it wasn’t until college that he switched to the saxophone and became immersed in the world of avant-garde jazz and contemporary classical music.
Today, an average day for Scott involves waking up at 4 a.m. to work on his creative projects, followed by several hours of music analysis. He cherishes the flexibility of analyzing remotely and says, “it’s an ideal job for an artist, because you can fit it in whenever and wherever you need to.”
The CMT Awards graciously invited Pandora to attend this year’s ceremony and to tweet from the Purple Carpet as Country’s hottest celebs arrived at the show. While we thoroughly enjoyed being close to the stars, we also took this opportunity to learn more about Nashville, a place referred to by many as “Music City”.
Thousands of aspiring musicians have flocked to Music City over the years with a guitar and a dream hoping to take their place alongside the many greats of American music. Everyone from Dolly Parton to Black Keys, Elvis to Taylor Swift, Waylon Jennings to Jack White have done time in Nashville. The city’s “Music Row” is home to hundreds of record labels, publishing houses and recording studios focusing on gospel, country, pop and more. …
New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, it is a place where generations upon generations of musicians have cultivated their unique sounds, you can feel it and hear it as you walk through the city, there is nothing else quite like it.
A few of us from Pandora were very lucky to attend this year’s Jazz and Heritage Festival and we soaked in the amazing sounds, hospitality and culture of the city. Our founder, Tim, and leader of music curation, Addi, spoke at the Sync Up conference, which is put on in conjunction with the festival. We also met up with some of our New Orleans listeners at a Sunday morning Town Hall. It was great to connect with our local New Orleans listeners amid such a musical weekend.
We did it! Weeks of late nights and early mornings, hundreds of tacos and thousands of music fans and now we are home from hosting our first official showcase at the South by Southwest festival in Austin TX: Pandora’s very own Discovery Den.
This year the music portion of SXSW saw at least 25,000 attendees, hundreds of venues and more than 2,000 bands of every genre possible. The festival is a place where lesser known artists become discovered as well as where popular artists often show up as special guests. Some of the festival’s top names this year included Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Jack White and Kanye West. At the Pandora Discovery Den, we featured four days and nights of amazing music including acts like Band of Skulls, Big K.R.I.T., Glen Hansard and Gary Clark Jr. The place was packed and people seemed to be having a good time, which we love! …