The Pandora Team

Pandora Podcast #14: Percussion Without Borders

The newest installment of the free Pandora Podcast Series has arrived, and it’s a doozy.
The new show explores percussion instruments, and looks at how each evokes the culture from which it came. Our guest, Sameer Gupta of the Supplicants and VidyA, sets up a Brazilian samba foot pattern, Indian tabla bols, Indonesian gamelan-style gong work, and some good old-fashioned jazz drumming. You’ll hear cabasa, shekere, maracas, a tongue drum, and for good measure… sleigh bells. Sameer, by the way, is also a Pandora music analyst, and he grew up in the South Bay Area, here in California.
To hear the ‘bonus episode’ on tabla, and to see the photos and listen to all of the audio samples, check out the Episode 14 page, or head over to the main podcast page to check out all of the episodes.
As always, we welcome your comments, questions and corrections. (Corrections, you say?)
Off to see the Police tonight! Whoot!

Pandora Podcast #13: Electronic Dance Music

Hello everybody. The Pandora Podcast Series is heading over to the discotheque for a spell. Lace up and hydrate.
The new show went up this morning, and our guest is downtempo producer and percussionist Chris Horgan. Chris and his Beatropolis bandmates play live versions of House, Trance and Techno beats, and we discuss studio recordings by Cubase Dan, Debroglie and Nepenthe. We delineate the musical elements that define the House sound, hear the crescendos specific to Trance, and parse out the dry minimalism and African drumming roots of Techno. Whether you’re intimately familiar with electronic dance music or not, there’s something in it for you. Chris, by the way, is a native of the great state of Florida.
Go directly to Episode 13 here, or head over to the main podcast page to see and hear all of these free shows.
Chris and I will be checking the comments section frequently, so fire away if you’ve got anything for us.
Thoomp thoomp thoomp thoomp,

Pandora/Zing Device: What it is. What it isn’t.

UPDATE: July 10, 2008. We see from the comments that many of you want Pandora on the iPhone. It’s available now — enjoy!

Lots swirling around in the blogosphere today after our Pandora Everywhere announcements last night. The one element of last night’s event that I didn’t blog about here is the prototype connected media player we showed at the end of the night.
There’s been some confusion about just what we showed last night and I thought I’d post a couple of photos and give you the direct scoop.
Here’s roughly what I said at the event:

“Looking into the crystal ball a bit, there are two changes on the horizon that we’re really excited about and those are Muni WiFi which has the potential to bring ubiquitous WiFi coverage to urban centers and WiMax which has the potential to blanket the country in a high speed network that you can access at 60 miles per hour in the middle of nowhere. While these technologies aren’t here today, they are fast approaching — Sprint alone is making a billion dollar investment in WiMax services.
One of the most interesting startups in the bay area right now is a company called Zing. They’re building a really cool platform that enables WiFi connected media players. They’re the company behind the new WiFi-connected Sansa Connect media player.
Three weeks ago when we started preparing for tonight, I called the team at Zing and asked if they’d be willing to take the Pandora Everywhere Platform and work with us to quickly develop a technology demo of Pandora running on a WiFi connected device. Here we are three weeks later and I’ve got something very cool to show you.
This is a handmade prototype of a WiFi connect Pandora media player. I should caution at this point that this is a tech demo only — there are lots of things that need to fall into place before something like this could be brought to market, not the least of which is we need ubiquitous WiFi access.
The really cool things about this prototype is that it was just three weeks in the making. the Pandora Everywhere Platform is going to let us bring Pandora to all kinds of places that you just can’t reach with a website alone.”

Some important things to note about all of this:

  • It was just a technology demo; it really wasn’t a product announcement
  • It was built by Zing and Pandora – SanDisk wasn’t involved in any way
  • Pandora has no plans to bring a Pandora-specific device to market

I’m not being coy here. This isn’t a “wink-wink-nudge-nudge it was just a demo” kind of thing. It really was just a demo. We’re excited to find out where this may lead, but it’s still very early days. As I said last night, this all came together just 3 weeks ago. We’re certainly not desperately racing off to do direct battle with the iPod. As has been observed in other quarters, that would be a strategy to approach with great caution.
As cool as the Zing/Pandora demo is, the real news last night was Pandora for Sprint and Pandora for Sonos. Both are available now and are quite real.

The Pandora Everywhere Platform

UPDATE: July 10, 2008. We see from the comments that many of you want Pandora on the iPhone. It’s available now — enjoy!

Late last year I wrote on this blog that when we started Pandora we set out to do 5 things, and that we’d so far only been able to talk about four of them.
Well, tonight we can finally take the wraps off a secret project that we started just about a year ago that lets us tackle that “5th thing.”
Over the course of the last year, we’ve had a team developing something we call the Pandora Everywhere Platform.
This is a entirely new system, that allows us to unleash Pandora from the desktop and delivery to any device, in any music format, over any network wired or wireless with capacity for 10’s of millions of users enjoying the same simple Pandora experience they’ve come to expect at
Using this platform we’re going to be able to take Pandora to places that it simply couldn’t go before and tonight we’re announcing the first two offerings based on this new system:
Pandora for Sprint
Pandora for Sonos

Pandora for Sprint

Want to listen to Pandora on the go? How about at the gym? Walking to school? In your car?
This is something we call Pandora on the Go, and it taps into entirely new capabilities of the Pandora Everywhere Platform. All your stations, all the songs you love, the power of the music genome project — in your pocket.
We’re incredibly excited to announce that Pandora is coming to Sprint. Sprint is without question the most forward-thinking carrier when it comes to digital music. They were the first to market with over the air downloads, the first to set prices at just .99 cents per song price, and they also have the best music phones on the market. With Pandora for Sprint you get the full Pandora experience, but in the palm of your hand anywhere you want to listen.
Pandora for Sprint is available today on 5 phones. Including one that’s just $9.99 with a contract. We’ll be rolling out support for 5 more phones over the course of the next 30 days including the Upstage Sprint’s amazing music phone.

Pandora for Sonos

sonos.pngWant to fill every room in your house with Pandora? We’ve partnered with an amazing company called Sonos to make that a reality. The Sonos team has take the Pandora Everywhere Platform and implemented a truly compelling “whole home” Pandora solution.
Right on the Sonos remote, you can access all your Pandora stations. While you’re listening, see the album art and information about the artist and song. With the press of a button you can pull up the Pandora options which let me bookmark the song or artist, or to find out why the Music Genome Project selected this particular song. Of course this is Pandora, so you can also rate songs, skip and pause.
You can also make new stations right from the Sonos remote as well as edit stations definitions — which for the first time lets me create complex station definitions right from the remote.
Pandora for Sonos is available today — all existing sonos customers will get a free software upgrade. There’s a 30 day free trial and then it’s just $3/month to subscribe.

New Pandora Website

Depending on your point of view, the original was either a fun retro homage to iTunes circa 1998, or maybe the best use of Khaki on the Internet — or maybe your view is that it has a face that only a mother could love. Well, tonight we’ve pulled the covers off an entirely new One that lets us tell the story of Pandora Everywhere while delivering a more compelling, more beautiful experience on the web. Hope you enjoy it!

“Teeny-tiny-webcasters-we-plan-to-keep-that-way” proposal from SoundExchange

Some of you may have seen the recent announcement from SoundExchange regarding their proposal for “small” webcasters. This is nothing but a cynical attempt by the RIAA to diffuse the growing uproar over the shocking rate hikes. Perhaps better characterized as the “teeny-tiny-webcasters-who-we-plan-to-keep-that-way” proposal, this is a tactical maneuver to distract the public and
confuse Congress by appearing to do something while actually not addressing the problem.
For a great concise response from one of the small webcasters this is SUPPOSED TO HELP, see AccuRadio founder Kurt Hanson’s blog post.
We’ve posted a few times on this topic over the past month – March 6th, March 12th, April 16th, April 26th
Don’t be fooled.
Tim (Founder)

Pandora Podcast #12: Mixing Vocals

Greetings and salutations. We have a new podcast for you this morning.
Today’s show is all about what you do with a sung track after you have recorded it. Ariah Firefly and I demonstrate how the de-esser squashes sibilance, how double-tracking and self-doubling work, and how the vocoder can just about any song sound like the chorus to Dr. Dre’s “California Love.” We also swim in a lake of reverb, and hear why a huge arena reverb may not work with a highly melismatic vocal line. What is a melismatic vocal line, you ask? (Dramatic pause.) Prepare yourself, for enjoyment awaits you. At the bottom of the page, you can hear for yourself how these effects are used in songs by Madonna, Liz Phair, 2Pac and Bjork.
Go straight to Episode 12 here, or head over to the main podcast page to see and hear all of these free shows.
On that podcast page, you can also chat with Ariah and me about this or any of the other episodes.


Much to our chagrin, on the heels of our being forced to block virtually our entire international listening audience, we now have to add Canada to the list (beginning May 16th). We had been hopeful that the licensing situation with our Northern friends might have some hope of imminent resolution. However, after a tough week, and in the wake of the substantial attention the blocking has clearly brought to this issue, it’s been made clear to us that we cannot continue streaming into Canada.
No need to reiterate just how difficult this is. It’s just a terrible thing for music that there’s not even a licensing structure available that would allow a webcaster to stream legally outside the U.S.
I’ll reiterate our commitment to fighting as hard as we can to fix this absurd problem – we only hope that reform will come soon so that we can get back to the business of listening and discovery.
My sincerest apologies.
Tim (Founder)