Pandora

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

The Future (or Lack Thereof) for Bands :: Tomorrow Never Knows :: Vol. 2

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2038…. 5ally, now a teenager, asks her mainframe to reveal the author of song she just heard on her earstream. It’s the only song she’s listened to today that she inquires about. Between who wrote it, or co-created it, or mixed it, or mashed it, or [add new thing here], it’s DJ #1 who finally wins her further attention — she buys a ticket to his next concert. It’s a swim-concert…

Are You In a Band? (Zzzzzzzz)
When doing a music presentation at a public school, I asked a group of fifth graders to write down their five favorite musicians or BANDS. One of the kids wrote “Pandora” on his list. Didn’t he know that Pandora isn’t a band? Perhaps he hadn’t yet grasped that, frequently, the songs he likes are created by an actual entity/cesspool/love affair of people, ideas and equipment. Among other things. I remember the day, in a RECORD store, when I had the epiphany that you could purchase a whole LP — with 10 or 12 songs on it — as opposed to a 45 rpm record. Big revelation! Perhaps the “band” epiphany hadn’t happened for this kid yet. But what if…. what if he just doesn’t CARE about who made the music he likes? Not a big revelation. It’s become fairly standard for people to digest music without knowing, or more significantly, caring who created it.
Is There an Animal in your Band Name?

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Mashup Culture – Baile Funk :: On the One :: Vol. 5

baile-funk-crop.jpgBaile funk, aka funk carioca or bailes funk, is a good example of how dance music conventions can be — and often are — shaped by the people and for the people. The DJ doesn’t necessarily define the sound, but the DJ does nurture it, develop it and mash the sound up with the contributions of other cultures that share similar experiences. In this case, the Baile funk experience was using the spirit of music and dance to rise above the poverty and oppression of the ghetto.
The term baile funk was used originally to describe a type of dance party that started happening in the favelas (ghettos) of Rio in the 70’s. Funk, r&b, and soul music being produced by American artists like George Clinton, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes had a strong voice with the people who populated the favelas. This music not only had relevant social messages, but grooves that were explicitly crafted for dancing.

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Game On! :: Music For Living :: Vol. 2

sports-fans.jpgThis week’s station: Game On!.
I think everyone should have a walk-up song (now batting…), even if it rarely gets used. I also like to think that if the right song is played at the right moment, it can actually influence the outcome of the game. While this is debatable, the significant role that music plays in the modern arena or coliseum is not… for better or worse.
This collection delivers all your standard coliseum anthems, along with a nice stack of other, relatively unknown gems. While the music represents a wide variety of musical styles — including rap, rock, punk, metal, funk, film score, and electronic/dance — they all have one thing in common: energy.
Recommended for play while: tailgating, applying paint to your face and/or body, getting pumped to deliver a presentation at work, entertaining during the holidays while sports are on TV, stuck in traffic trying to get to the game, in the locker room prior to a big matchup, performing a victory dance, clapping in unison, playing dunk hoops on a 6 foot rim, working off the calories from aforementioned tailgate, and any situation that requires an elevated state of personal or team mojo.
For best results, play at a high volume on big speakers.
Addi
(dance collection manager)

Music as Food :: Play Listen Repeat :: Vol. 45

Click here to listen to Balanced Diet Radio while you read
Picture 4.pngCompetitive Eating?
It’s hard to judge music, but I have to. It’s a necessary part of things for me. As those of you who have read my previous posts (here, here or here, for example) know, to be consistent when doing so may be impossible.
When I’m writing my own songs or making records, it’s at least possible to be definitive. I just have to do stuff that I believe in. Not easy, but possible. As Pandora’s music curator, though, it’s a whole different thing. I have to maintain a sense of aesthetics in general; a sense of musical quality that goes beyond my own opinions and tastes.
It’s a narrow path to walk.
On one side there is a kind of musical moralism which says: “this is good and that is bad; and therefore you should listen to this and not that.” On the other side is what you might call musical sociopathy, with its relativistic axiom: “there is no such thing as musical quality; everything is equally good.”
I don’t relate to either of those points of view at all, and I don’t want to.
Top Chef
Happily, though, I’ve found a strategy that is just imprecise enough to filter out esoteric pitfalls while allowing for some ideas to get through: I talk about music as if it’s food.

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Harvest Time :: Music For Living :: Vol. 1

autumn tree.jpgThis week’s station: Harvest Time.
The smell of the changing leaves, the first drops of rain, the crisp cool air, the sweaters, the dying leaves that were once such resplendent colors, and the anticipation of the coming snow, autumn represents a time of change, freshness, and a shift in the seasons. Also, some of the best, most ingrained memories of our lives come from the next few months: the memories of summer, the gathering in of families, and of harvest.
Whether it’s the changing of foliage or whatever nostalgic association you may have with this time of year, this mixtape of songs (old and new) hopes to create the perfect channel for you to indulge all these feelings and to enjoy throughout the season. Celebrate the turning of the season with Harvest Time. Enjoy!!
Michelle S.
(assistant music curator)
(photograph by David Paul Ohmer)

Wax Cylinders to Earbuds and Beyond :: Tomorrow Never Knows :: Vol. 1

BrainRhythm2.jpg…Meanwhile, in 2027: 5ally runs her forefinger up the embedded metal grid on back of her ear, turning up her music and drowning out the annoying yammering of her parents trying to tell her to pay attention…
You’re soaking in it!
Music is streaming around you right now in the air. Music is, after all, something that we can encode into small pieces and send out riding on any sort of wave (AM, FM, Wi-Fi, Photons, whatever… gravity?) to something that can reconstruct those bits into movement of the air pressure near your ears – your ears will perceive the music.

We’ve already come a long way: only a few hundred years ago somebody would have to physically play an instrument near you for you to hear it… People started a system of writing music on paper, the first encoding: a piece of music could be sent to another location and then played, albeit still by a person with an instrument. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that someday got the bright idea to record the actual changes in air pressure that were being produced by the player. Then they could use their recording to change the air pressure in another location and the sound would be reproduced.

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Dusted :: On the One :: Vol. 4

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Dust — it’s everywhere!
First I clean it up and then pow! — a week later I’m cleaning all over again. Yeah I’m a neat-freak, so what?!?
Luckily for the the Dust Brothers, their music was just as prevalent throughout the 1990s. They started with several hits for Tone Loc and Young MC that featured heavy sampled drums, gritty electric riffs, and simple to the point raps. However, they really made their name with the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique — a meticulously through-composed work that ranks as one of the best produced albums of all time.

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