The Pandora Team

Miami, FL Recap!

First chance to have a meeting with folks post royalty board ruling. Great to see how energized people are about this issue. Very heartening for us as we enter what is likely to be a long and difficult fight to reverse this ruling. It’s clear that the grassroots support of listeners is going to be critical.
Thanks to Esther for being such a great Hostess at her stunning modern art museum. Every community needs one of those.

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Play Listen Repeat Vol. 12

In my work curating Pandora’s music collection, I visit a lot of music-related websites.
So in the spirit of sharing the wealth (and of being able to collect more great music for you folks) I’d love to see a list of your favorite sites for discovering new music and learning about back catalog etc.
Here are just a few of the many, many sites I regularly check out:

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Pandora Podcast #9: Upright Bass

As of today, the newest podcast is ready for you to download (free), listen to on our page (free), or add to your iPod or other portable audio device (also free).
For our ninth show, it’s a headfirst leap into the world of upright bass. We delve into the role of the acoustic bass in jazz, blues, and rock n’ roll, and walk you through a walking bass part for a I-vi-ii-V chord sequence. Our guest for this episode is Seth Ford-Young, a bassist who has appeared on recordings by Tom Waits, Jellyroll, Mia and Jonah, and Myles Boisen. Seth is originally from the Washington D.C. area.
Check out the new episode here, or head over to the main podcast page to see all nine episodes.
Thanks for listening, and for your comments. It’s great to hear from you.
Waka jawaka,

Play Listen Repeat Vol. 11

More good comments and discussions last time. Thanks to all who read and post each week!
I think I’m still generally contemplating the ramifications of all things copyright this week. I just started reading The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad, and just reading the first few essays, which discuss songs like Barbara Allen and The Water is Wide, I found myself wondering about how these old songs might have fared had they been written today.
These haunting, archetypical songs come from anonymous sources, not from single authors, and because of that, I think an interesting parallel can be drawn between the shared origins of these classic ballad songs and something contemporary like mashups.
Now, I’m not comparing the importance of, say, the Grey Album to a seven hundred year old song. However, the classic ballads exemplify what is artistically potent in the tranformation of personal content to shared content. Whatever you might think about mashups as a genre, a similar absorption of sources is at play. Who really knows where mashups might end up if they continue for 500 years?
Had the current copyright laws been in place in the 1500’s, that original version of a song might have been closed, insulated from the subsequent additions that transformed it from a singular bit of storytelling into a shared repository of human wisdom, dread, wonderment, and community.
So, if there is something shared and communal in the essential nature of music, and especially in songs, then would it follow that restricting the creative community’s freedom to amend, alter and interact with new ideas is in conflict with the essence of the art?
Have at it,

Curated stations: more staff favorites

Here’s a few more stations Pandora staff have actively curated, and currently enjoy. (here’s the last post’s curated selections, if you missed them) Please feel free to leave links to your own well-curated stations in the comments so we can check yours out too!
Kevin, our podcast producer as well as a musician, would like to share his Obscuro Funk station, based on one carefully chosen song and supplemented with thumbs ups. He says he listens to this one a lot, and I don’t blame him! Here’s another of his stations that he’s loving right now: Stiletto.
Addi, a one of our music analysts whose Pass the Peas station I posted last time, also has a sweet hip-hop station, Ground Level Radio. You must check it out.
Ava, another of our music analysts, plays guitar and does a lot of “quirky” arrangements of old country and blues tunes. She created this station just for you: Early Country. She welcomes your comments.
Veronica, who is on our advertising team and also happens to be a music reviewer, has these lovely stations to share: chill out, pass out, make out and saccharine electropop.
Keeping reading, there’s more….

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Miami Get-together Tuesday!

This Tuesday, I’ll be in North Miami to meet Pandora listeners and music lovers at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Looking forward to hearing what your thoughts are about the service and current trends in digital music. If you’re in the area, please stop by! Full details are below.
When: Tuesday, March 27th, 2007 – doors open 6:30 PM, event @ 7 PM
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, Paradise Courtyard
770 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL (map)
MOCA has also generously offered to keep the Museum open for Pandora listeners, so feel free to check out their fantastic current exhibit: “Merce Cunningham: Dancing on the Cutting Edge” before and after the event!
Hope to see you there!
Tim (Founder)

Play Listen Repeat Vol. 10

Well, although the RIAA and Sound Exchange are foolishly working their hardest to cripple internet radio, the beat does go on here at Pandora, which means it’s time for another Play Listen Repeat discussion.
This isn’t like fiddling while Rome burns, or like the band playing while the Titanic goes down; let’s think of it more like having a fascinating conversation while we’re waiting in line to dunk our grammar school principal in one of those dunking machines.
Dunk Tank(1).jpg
Here’s what’s on the curator’s mind today: is the easy availability of music as digital files, and is the fundamental similarity those files have with other digital files like emails, taxes, word documents, and such, an aesthetic liability for the music?
In other words, are we seeing the supermodel without her makeup on? Or are we simply getting past the surface so that we can have a real relationship with the music, free of myths and posturing?
Do tell.

Pandora Podcast #8: Reggae, Ska, Rocksteady and Dub

Our newest episode, in which the doldrums of late-winter snow get chased away by a trip to Jamaica…

Ray, Vic, Jayme and Mark from the Soul Captives show us variations on modern Jamaican music styles, while performing and explaining some of the subtleties of ska, dub, rocksteady, early reggae and roots reggae. This week’s episode features skanking riddims, a bubbling Lowrey, and some tasty spring reverb.

If any of you in Listenerland happen to be in Northern California this weekend, the Soul Captives and the Skatalites (45 years later, still making dancefloors shake) are performing together this Sunday 3/25 at Ashkenaz in Berkeley.

Check out the show here, and don’t forget to play the audio examples further down on the page.

Ray and Vic and I will all be chatting in the comments area at the bottom of that page, so come drop a line or ask a question. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you use iTunes and would like a free subscription to the Pandora podcasts, go here.


Play Listen Repeat Vol. 9: Pandora @ SXSW 2007

Well it’s Tuesday, and I’m just back from the giant gathering of the musical and music industry tribes. Before the memories (hazy as they already are) fade completely, I have to mention a few of the high points:
boris – picture a covered outdoor stage in an alley behind a row of clubs, a few trees guarding the entrance, beyond which you find a sea of rapt listeners who are themselves enveloped in a stunningly loud and oddly peaceful ocean of droney, psychedelic metal. This was the one band I saw the whole week that seemed truly mysterious and legendary, otherwordly and almost godlike. In the infernal din that covers Austin all week, this band was louder, more unified, and more transforming that anything else I saw. It was so good that I purposefully skipped going to see them the next day, for fear of spoiling a perfect musical memory.

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