Pandora

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

Update from Portland

First let me say the Kennedy School is far and away the most unique and interesting hotel I’ve ever stayed at. A converted Elementary school that still looks and feels like… an elementary school. Complete with art projects on the walls and chalkboards. Great fun.
Pampelmoose2.jpgStarted my day with great conversation with Dave Allen, bassist for the Gang of Four, and serial entrepreneur who’s most recent company, Pampelmoose is filling the new role of modern label/manager/producer in the digital age. I was joined by his business partner Ned Failing, drummer for the up and coming Dirty Martini in Portland, and former drummer for Pacific Northwest favorites, the Strangers. Also there was Ezra Holbrook, very talented local producer and musician (I listened to his latest effort Michael Jodell in the car after our meeting – really good sounding record, nice stuff Ezra – can’t wait to hear the mastered version). Ezra also books bands for the Imbibe in town.
Spent most of the lunch talking about the changing relationship between record labels and artists… and things ARE changing. Portland is a microcosm of the change. It has a great grassroots indie scene, full of musicians that are chasing alternative career paths. Forgoing traditional label deals to release records as joint ventures with small labels or artist management companies. It’s a very fundamental shift that shows signs of accelerating. The essential arrangement is a 50/50 split on expenses/revenues. The partners grow the business organically, never getting ahead of themselves, and there’s a living to be made there for all parties.
Ezra hit the nail on the head when he pinpointed cheap home recording software as a pivotal factor in this change. And as a former Capitol and Geffen artist, he speaks from experience. Artists can now produce high quality records without needing big up-front investment to finance them – it’s the need for the big advance that has long dictated label deals. These deals are rational but tough on the artist – the label puts up all the money (often over $500K for a first record/tour) and gets the lion’s share of the profits. Labels lose money on most of their records, and hope for a couple big successes to carry the business – just like the venture capital business. Now, with artists often coming to the table with a completed record, the dynamics have really shifted. Lots of what you now hear on the radio was recorded in someone’s basement studio on ProTools (ProTools is one of numerous software programs that turn a standard computer into a professional quality music recording system… all you need is a good mic and a good pair of ears).
After swinging by Pampelmoose to load up on their latest projects, I jetted out to Clackamas Community college for a chat with Jadon Triplet – budding journalist and punk rock guitarist.
Jim-Brunberg.jpgDropped in on Jim Brunberg the owner/operator of Mississippi Studios – a beautiful listening room that books mostly acoustic shows. The room, decorated in old wood, deep red fabric and warm glowing lamps, is entirely focused on the stage which makes it a very attractive venue for visiting players. These venues are really a dying breed, which is a terrible shame because they’re such great places for musicians. Jim filled my arms with local talent – all soon to be in the Music Genome Project. He particularly recommended Raina Rose and Mira Flores. Death Cab for Cutie, Ricki Lee Jones, John Wesley Harding, Fastball, are among the better know artists that have come through.
I’ve known Jim for many years, back to when his band Box Set and my former band gigged together in San Francisco. Box Set was a great band that worked it’s way up from coffee houses to headlining the Fillmore, then got signed to Capricorn after a showcase at South by Southwest (see the upcoming Texas leg of the trip). The record didn’t pan out and they’ve since gone their separate ways. Really interesting to talk to someone who has truly been through the whole arc. Even though the label went under, the leftover advance allowed him to start the studio – happy ending. Jim has really found his niche up in Portland where he thinks of his role at band ‘coach’. Does everything from producing, and engineering (they have a full blown digital studio upstairs) to helping bands plan their touring strategy.
Prescott-Trumbos.jpgTopped the night off with an evening at Goodfoot Pub’s open mic. I was blown away by the talent. First band I walked in on called themselves the Prescott Trumbo’s – terrific songwriting. They’re just getting started, so it was raw, but let’s hope this trio makes a CD some day – would love to have them in the genome. Two Vandals Lawncare ripped through a Phish-esque guitar rock set. Some fancy arranging and good melodies (rare bedfellows).
Two-Vandals.jpg
And the cover charge… wait for it… $1.
Can’t wait for tomorrow.

Toronto Meetup Friday Night March 3rd, 2006

I’m in Toronto for the Canadian Music Week conference.
This is super short notice, but I’m going to head to Rushton Restaurant Friday evening around 10:30pm for a get together with any interested folks. The Rushton coordinates:
740 St. Clair Ave. W.
Phone: (416) 658-7874
Ian Milne the DJ has recently setup of a Squeezebox and plans to spin the tunes.
Hope to see you there!! Tim

Pandora + Squeezebox

Today we’re launching Pandora + Squeezebox.
Squeezebox, from Slim Devices, is simply the best way to deliver digital music to your home stereo. It’s a beautiful device, with an elegant user interface and exceptional audio quality. Plug it into your home network (wired or wireless) and enjoy Pandora from the comfort of your couch. You’ll be able to listen to all of the stations you’ve been creating at Pandora.com, rate songs, and bookmark favorites all with a simple remote control.
Pandora + Squeezebox is available to Pandora subscribers ($36 for a year or $12 for three months) and will work with any Squeezebox 2 as well as the new (and very beautiful) Squeezebox 3.
Pandora and Slim Devices are offering free 90 day Pandora subscriptions to new and current Squeezebox 2 and 3 owners. To get started you’ll need to signup for Squeezenetwork. When you connect your account with your ad-supported-free Pandora.com account (you’ll do this from your account page at the Squeezenetwork website) we’ll automatically upgrade you to a 90-day-free subscription on Pandora. No credit card required.
Click here to learn more about Pandora + Squeezebox.


Here’s what David Pogue at the New York Times had to say recently about Slim Devices and Pandora:

“the Squeezebox will do something no other hi-fi component can do: it will hook into Pandora… Slim Devices predicts that Pandora will become a wildly popular feature, and that’s probably true.” (read the entire story, see the video)

Pandora in Portland – March 6th & 7th

Music Millenium.jpgI’m very excited to announce our trip next week to our friendly neighbors to the North. I’ll be heading up to Portland, Oregon for a couple days of musical exploration and conversation – March 6th & 7th, 2006. The main event of the trip is a ‘town hall’ get together at Music Millenium (801 NW 23rd Avenue) on Tuesday evening at 6pm to talk radio and digital music. Terry Currier, the longtime owner has generously agreed to host us at this indie music mecca. I’ll be joined by Rick Emerson, a much beloved local radio personality, active blogger, and longtime music industry commentator for a provocative discussion on ‘radio in the digital age.’ Peter Carlin, journalist for the Oregonian, and a thoughtful writer on media will moderate, incite and lead what will hopefully be a lively and informative conversation about the impact of the digital revolution on the modern music industry, with a particular focus on radio.
It should be great discussion. I hope you’ll come by to join the conversation.
We have couple other events planned as well, including a meetup at Mississippi Pizza (3552 N Mississippi Avenue) on Monday evening at 6:30pm. After this I’ll be heading over to Goodfoot Pub then possibly Ash Street Saloon to check out the local talent at their weekly open mics. Company is welcome. The more the merrier.
Last time I headed up I5, there were six of us packed in a van with the PA system and more music equipment that we should have been able to fit. This time I’m heading out with a laptop, boxes of T-shirts and caps, and empty bags that I hope to fill with a wonderful and eclectic collection of local recordings. I’m hoping to come away with a better understanding of the local music scene, and with armfuls of great new music for our musician analysts to sink their teeth into.
If you have any comments or suggestions please share your thoughts below. The musical conversation starts now!
Tim (Founder)

It’s the little, itty-bitty things

When we rolled out Pandora 2.1 a couple of weeks ago we talked about our efforts to polish up the “little things” in the user interface. Tonight we rolled out one additional tiny little improvement that we hope you’ll like.
Starting tonight each time you hear a song you’ll be able to click on the song title (in the song “slide,” above the album art) which will take you to a page devoted to just that song. You’ll then be able to listen to a sample of the song, see what album it’s from (lots of you have asked specifically for that) and send the URL on to your friends that might like the song. Ok, so it’s a very small thing, but we hope you like it. More to come. Stay tuned!

I’m still planning my itinerary for Georgia. I know Athens is a can’t-miss and Atlanta is of course a music mecca. Please leave any comments or suggestions below.

I’m still planning my itinerary for Louisiana. New Orleans is certainly on the map. Also Baton Rouge. This will likely be the week of March 20th. Please leave any comments or suggestions below – especially looking for spots off the beaten path.

I’m still planning my itinerary for Mississippi. Really excited to hit the birthplace of the blues… New Orleans is the only place I’ve been in the whole delta region. Please leave any comments or suggestions below.

Update: I’ll be at the Carolina Theater (309 West Morgan St) in Durham on Wednesday, September 20th, 2006 at 7pm for a meetup! If you plan to attend, please RSVP by sending an email to tour@pandora.com with ‘Durham’ in the subject line.
I’m currently planning an itinerary for my tour stop in North Carolina – amazing music scene. Come mid-September, I’ll definitely be stopping in Raleigh and Durham for a town hall meeting, and would love the opportunity to meet Pandora listeners at nearby universities. Asheville and Chapel Hill residents have been great with suggestions for concert clubs and local bands. Keep the tips coming! If you have any suggestions for appropriate venues in the area or on college campuses, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. I can’t wait to visit!
We love reading and responding to your feedback on the blog – the comments have been a treasure trove of great insights and guidance as we plan our visits. If you have a particular idea you want to discuss, or just want to get more involved, we’re eager for help – just drop us an email at tour@pandora.com. Please include your location in the subject line of your message too. No idea is too big or small!

I’m still planning my itinerary for Tennessee. I’ll be in Nashville, Clarksdale, Memphis and at least one other town the week of April 17th. Please leave any comments or suggestions below – it’s my first time in the state and I know there’s a lot more to its musical history than the King.