Pandora

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

Play Listen Repeat Vol. 38

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“There are heroes in the seaweed…” – Leonard Cohen
One of the best things about being part of Pandora is knowing that we are, with the help of our listeners, tilling the musical soil, churning up music that for one reason or another may have gotten lost or buried at some point.
I love the idea that we are all keeping so many songs in circulation, and in that spirit, I thought I’d post a few artists that might be new to some of you, that you can explore as new starting points.
Sibylle Baier – I am loving this station based on the solo acoustic folk of this recently rediscovered recording. You’ll hear great lesser-knowns like the incredible Vashti Bunyan, and Ruthann Friedman and Bridget St. John, plus better known folkies like Nick Drake.
Sleep – Where would we be without metal? We wouldn’t be able to cook scrambled eggs, for one thing! So open your ears to the weirdly pillowy doom metal sounds of this station. It’s a good one. And hey – those of you who have never listened to metal – you know who you are – don’t glaze over – check this out :-).
Peanut Butter Wolf – I love the track Here’s a Smirk, and bet it would make a cool station. He got his name from a girlfriend’s kid brother, who dreamed up the peanut butter wolf as his deepest fear. At least something cool came from the poor guy’s nightmares!
Thomas NewmanRoad to Perdition Score – I’ve been into soundtrack music lately. It’s interesting how it is made to be secondary, while also being canny and amazingly precise in the reactions it evokes. Here’s a station made from one of my favorite pieces in this score.
DM StithFire of Birds – This is new music from the Asthmatic Kitty label, nice folks who put out some of the most interesting pop music of the day. This is orchestral and experimental folk that lives in that verdant valley between Mount Pleasantmusic and Mount Artsymusic. One of my favorite imaginary places.
Have a great weekend, and don’t forget Record Store Day tomorrow!
mz

Tim answers Viewer Mail, #7

You guys have a lot of questions for us, and here is Tim answering a few of those:
WHY DO YOU CONSIDER PANDORA TO BE RADIO?
CAN I LISTEN TO SONGS BY ONLY ONE ARTIST?
WHAT CAN I DO IF I HEAR A SONG TOO OFTEN?
If you have any questions that you’d like to see Tim answer, then flip on your webcam and record yourself asking the question. We would like to meet you, so please introduce yourself. Then, just send it on in and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.
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Here are some of the previous Viewer Mail videos: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Pandora for BlackBerry, now on App World

Two weeks ago we rather quietly rolled out our first BlackBerry applications and yesterday we completed the first phase of our rollout with the announcement of Pandora for BlackBerry App World.
Pandora for BlackBerry runs on a wide variety of handsets and carriers. At the moment we support the Curve (including the new 8900), Bold, Pearl, and 8800 on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. We’re still working on the Storm — the touchscreen UI presents a unique opportunity and we want to get the interactions just right. Stay tuned on that front.
You can install the Pandora application through the BlackBerry App World (which you may need to install on your phone — click here for details) or by simply visiting pandora.com from your BlackBerry web browser.
Pandora for BlackBerry delivers the full Pandora experience, in the palm of your hand. Listen to the stations you created on the web or make news ones right on your BlackBerry. Skip and rate songs just like on the web. It’s like a personal soundtrack for your life. Learn more here.

Lyrics, Variety, Gifts, and other Tweaks

We’ve been quietly rolling out a number of enhancements to Pandora.com the last few weeks and I thought I’d tell you a bit about them.
The biggest of the bunch is the launch of lyrics! This has been one of the most requested features for Pandora for as long as I can remember and the trick for us has always been to find a great provider of legal, fully licensed lyrics to share with you. Happy to say that we’ve found a great partner in Gracenote and last week we launched the first iteration of our lyric integration. To see the lyrics for the song you’re currently listening to just pull up the “about this music” panel underneath the player and select the lyrics tab. We’ll show you the first four lines of the song on the home page and you can click through to a second window that will show you the complete lyrics for the songs. Find a song that moves you? Click the share button to send them to a friend.
We’ve also been fiddling with the interface for adding more variety to your stations. Variety is a tricky subject when it comes to radio. We never want you to get bored with your stations, but a certain amount of repetition is welcome and expected. We’re constantly tweaking the core algorithm to impact station variety and we’re not done in that dimension. On the other hand, we’ve always had tools that allow you to expand the musical scope of a station by adding more song or artist “seeds” — but that interface has been largely hidden and only used by a small minority of our listeners. In a change that rolled out a few weeks ago we’ve added a “Add variety…” button to the player itself so that it’s easier to find and access. We’ve also updated the Add Variety panel to prompt you with a few ideas about artists you might want to add when you run out of your own ideas.
We also recently launched a “station gift” feature — this is your chance to make a kind of Pandora “mix tape” for a friend. Just visit www.pandora.com/station_gift, pick some favorite artists or songs, choose a design, and we’ll take care of the rest. Think of it as a musical e-card from Pandora.
One last tidbit you may have noticed is that we now support “bulk” purchase through both iTunes and Amazon MP3. Instead of buying songs one at a time, you can now use your Pandora bookmark list as a starting point for buying a whole bunch of music with just a single click. Click the “Buy All” button on your profile page to get started (and don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of chances to review your song selections before the purchase actually goes through).
We’ve had a lot of fun building these new features and we hope you enjoy using them. As always, we look forward to hearing your feedback and ideas in the comments.

A fresh Pandora podcast: “The Art of Sampling”

v.e.r.a. cliqueFor the latest podcast in our ongoing audio series, “The Musicology Show,” we talk with two hip hop MCs and two beatmaking producers about the art of Sampling.
The MCs are Macsen Apollo and Anderson Ray from V.E.R.A. Clique, and the producers are Dan Craig and Johnny Igaz. Craig is a software-sampling maven who imports audio directly from old LPs; Igaz uses a hardware sampler for his production work with Ill Mondo. All four bring interesting perspectives to the controversial and rich subject of sample-based music, and Craig breaks apart one of his productions to show how he layered the snares and manipulated the source material to make the beats snap.
This episode was recorded and cut by the great Tyler Brown at Bellboy Recording in Richmond CA.
For other episodes of “The Musicology Show,” check out the subject pages: Instruments, Rhythm, Composition, Singing and Styles.

The Art of Sampling :: The Musicology Show :: Vol. 42

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V.E.R.A. Clique
The three members of hip hop group V.E.R.A. Clique, one producer/beatmaker (Dan Craig) and two MCs (Anderson Ray and Macsen Apollo) join producer/beatmaker Johnny Igaz to talk about sampling. We look at hardware vs. software sampling, hear how different drum tones are layered to make for fuller hits, and dissect a sampled production. Craig and Igaz both work here at Pandora as well. (11 mins.)

That link above is to V.E.R.A. Clique’s site, but this one is to their Pandora artist profile.

Tim answers Viewer Mail, #6

We receive your questions every day, and are happy to get more. Here, Tim answers a few of the q’s we hear the most:
WHY DID YOU MAKE THE MUSIC GENOME PROJECT?
WHY AM I NOT HEARING THE EXACT SONG I REQUESTED?
WHY DID YOU NAME IT PANDORA?
Please write in any questions you’d like to hear answered… we look forward to seeing questions sent from your webcams too.
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Here are some of the previous Viewer Mail videos: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Celtic, Cajun, and Hawaiian Music – Now on Pandora

Hello listeners!
Over the past months we’ve been hard at work readying some great new music for you, and we’re happy to be able to say that Celtic, Cajun, and Hawaiian music stations are now live on Pandora!
We have taken great care to come up with the right musicological characteristics with which to evaluate these important genres. We have also been busy assembling the best Celtic, Cajun and Hawaiian music collections available anywhere, and will be continuing to do so from now on.
Without a doubt, you will discover things that we have overlooked, and we look forward to your help in improving and developing these collections and stations. Thanks in advance!
In the meantime, here are just a few starting points for ya!

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Play Listen Repeat Vol. 37

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2005MGMBaby300.jpgImagine that you are a judge at a baby beauty contest. Thousands of babies are brought out in front of you for you to inspect, and it’s up to you to decide which ones the public at large would want to see.
Every baby that you see is wonderful: full of life, full of curiosity, energy, enthusiasm and its own kind of perfect integrity and even beauty. In that sense, they are all exactly the same, equally open, curious, and ready to engage. Every one of them deserves the same chances as every other.
At the same time, though, you have to admit to yourself that some of the babies are certainly easier to look at than others (and now that you’re on the subject, some of them – bless their little hearts – just look pretty undercooked).
That’s what it’s like to make judgments about music.

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Pandora Valentine

I made you a couple of stations for Valentine’s Day. See what you think!
I took suggestions from listeners and from Pandora staff, and together we came up with these two stations:
Bitter Valentine
Songs of disenchantment, frustration, martyrdom and heartbreak.
Community Valentine
Songs involving the schmoopy, the loving, and the sentimentalists.
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[photo by Sister72]
Both stations are great, though honestly, I like the “bitter” station a little better. And may I suggest that you even try the two stations QuickMixed together? Both themes mixed together is probably closest to real-life experience anyway. ;)
Enjoy your weekend, however you celebrate or ignore the holiday.
Hearts and chocolate,
Lucia

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This valentine glitter art was mailed to us by a young fan of Pandora, with help from his mom. It’s prominently posted in the Pandora HQ kitchen, of course.