Hello again dear readers!
You know the line in the Talking Heads‘ song Psycho Killer which goes: “When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed”? Well, while I wouldn’t push any further into identifying with such a dangerous character, it does help explain why it’s been several months since Vol. 35 of this series.
Thanks to all of you who have been requesting that we resume the discussion. I’m glad to know that you’re as interested in these posts as I am in hearing your responses. I learn a lot from what you write.
OK, down to bidness.
Ever thought about bad music? Seems to me that the way each of us evaluates musical quality is not simple at all, and yet we do it on a nearly instinctual, automatic level. After all, it only takes a few seconds of hearing a piece of music for us to adjust our expectations about what’s to come later on.
Now I’m not talking about whether we like a certain style or genre here, I’m talking about that something that we each intuit about whether the music was made competently or not, or if it somehow fails as music (what a mysterious thing that is: a piece of music is both music, and it’s not).
I’m looking to hear your experiences and thoughts about that, such as: what kinds of musical incompetence matter to you, and what kinds don’t? Which flaws enhance the music you like and which ones detract? Is it possible for music to be too perfect and therefore ineffective for you? Et cetera and on and on…
Looking forward to reading your replies,
For those of you already in the Holiday spirit, and for those who are still trying to get there, a friendly reminder of how easy it is to enjoy Christmas music on Pandora:
To make your own holiday station, just start with an artist you like, and type the word “holiday” after the name.
Duke Ellington Holiday
Frank Sinatra Holiday
Ella Fitzgerald Holiday
Mariah Carey Holiday
Vienna Boys Choir Holiday
Or, you can create a station from a specific holiday song by typing in the name of that song (for example, ‘Winter Wonderland‘). Pick which version of the song you want, and a station will be created for you that showcases similar holiday music.
A few to try:
Angels We Have Heard On High
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
To make it even easier for you, we’ve created a bunch of genre-based stations for you to try:
A Classical Christmas
There’s many more pre-mixed holiday stations here.
It’s been well over a year since I first talked publicly about Pandora for Windows Mobile. After a number of false starts and broken promises on my part, I’m happy to report that we’ve now released our first Windows Mobile implementations of Pandora.
Today we’re rolling out Pandora for the HTC XV6900 on Verizon, the HTC Touch on Sprint, and the Motorola Q9C on both Sprint and Verizon. These are free to download and are supported solely through advertising. The entire Pandora experience you’ve come to expect on the web is available on your Windows Mobile phone: create stations, listen, give feedback, QuickMix, etc.
In cooperation with AT&T we are also launching Pandora support for three additional Windows Mobile phones: the Samsung Epix, the LG Incite, and HTC Fuze. AT&T has decided to make these versions of Pandora available on a monthly subscription basis.
To get started with Pandora on your HTC Touch, HTC XV6900, Motorola Q9C, LG Incite, HTC Fuze, or Samsung Epix simply visit http://www.pandora.com using Mobile Internet Explorer on your smartphone and follow the installation instructions.
We’re continuing the work required to bring Pandora to a broader range of Windows Mobile handsets. Keep your eye on this blog and this page for updates on new handsets.
For those of you that have been keeping an eye on this since I first talked about it so long ago, thanks again for your patience. Enjoy!
Dear Chicagoans -
I’ve been looking forward to the Apple store talk this coming Tuesday in the windy city. Unfortunately, for personal reasons I have be in California on Tuesday. I will be ably replaced by Tom Conrad, our CTO. Tom runs engineering at Pandora, so he’s ultimately the wizard behind the application. I dare you to stump him with technical questions. He’s been with us from the very beginning of Pandora, so he’ll also talk about our history and where Pandora is heading.
Sorry I can’t make it, but I’m already talking with the store about coming in the new year. In the meantime, I encourage you to drop by to meet with Tom. You’ll enjoy his talk. He’s much smarter than I am…
Cheers. Tim (Founder)
At 10:04am this morning we hit 2,000,000 registered iPhone Pandora users!
We’re hearing all sorts of wonderful feedback from listeners who are using it on their commute, jogging with it, plugging it into home audio systems…you name it. And as usual, offering all sorts of great feedback and suggestions. It’s thrilling for us to see the broader vision for Pandora take shape. Our hearty thanks for your continued support and input.
It also makes us very happy to know that the 60,000+ artists in our collection are now getting played on car radios all across the country. Times they are a changin’ …
Thanks also to the iPhone and iTunes teams at Apple who have been, and continue to be, so helpful and supportive.
Cheers. Tim (Founder)
Last year, a crew of music-loving British documentary filmmakers joined Tim as he hosted town hall meetings and hit open mic nights across the country. The first of these episodes has just premiered on their website DigForFire. It’s set in New York City.
They have a whole collection of cool live music videos as well. Check ‘em out.
We’re fast approaching 2 million registered iPhone users… Crazy! To celebrate this entry to the world of free mobile radio, Apple has generously allowed us to host some show-and-tells at their stores around the country. I’ll be sharing some Pandora history, new developments, and a deep dive into the iPhone, which we love so much…
Hope you’ll join me for an informative and hopefully interactive get together at one of these beautiful store, uh.. I mean museum, locations:
Santa Monica, Thursday November 13th, 7pm
1248 Third Street Promenade (310) 576 1011
Boston, Monday November 17th, 12 Noon
815 Boylston Street (617) 385 9400
Chicago, Tuesday December 9th, 7pm
679 North Michigan Ave., (312) 981 4104
Cheers. Tim (Founder)
From the lonesome lakes of Wisconsin to California’s fields and orchards, JJ Schultz has been traveling and writing country-folk ballads. As we hear here, one of the main tensions in classic country songwriting is the balance between sweet, major-key melodies and melancholy words. It’s a tradition of songcraft that places value on specific imagery, concrete visual descriptions, and identifiable situations. Those lyrical scenes are key. This episode explores the tradition, and extols the virtues of great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson. (12 mins.)
When he’s not here working at Pandora’s headquarters, you might find JJ Schultz hosting a great weekly open mic night at Hotel Utah in San Francisco. You might also find him with pen in hand working on new songs. His three albums of original songs range from folk to country to other strains of Wisconsin-bred Americana. Today, however, we focus on that country music. We get into classic country songwriting, looking at how major-key melodies mix with sad lyrics to establish a setting for those vivid, very specific images.
Thanks for listening,
This is a very sad day for Pandora, and for me personally. Today we reduced our staff from 140 to 120 employees. Like virtually every company, Pandora is not immune to the challenges presented by the current economic turmoil. We are trying to react quickly and responsibly to the new environment.
We cherish our employees. We have painstakingly built a team that I am tremendously proud of – there’s not a person in our company who hasn’t contributed substantially to what we do, and who we are. The twenty folks we let go today were no exception.
I started this company nine years ago. I lived through some very tough times back in 2001-2002. But letting go of an employee will, for me at least, always be the most gut-wrenching thing there is. We tried our best today to treat these friends and colleagues with great understanding, and with as much financial support for their transition as we can afford.
There are tough times ahead for the economy, but our listenership is growing rapidly, the Internet radio royalty rate resolution seems finally near, and the explosion of mobile devices like the iPhone are opening up a world of opportunity for internet radio to expand off the desktop. Moreover, our ad sales are growing so well that, not only did we not make any reductions there, we need to continue to hire more.
It’s just hard to be excited about all that today.