The Pandora Team

RIAA’s new royalty rates will kill online radio!!

The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has recently released a revised fee schedule for internet radio. Left unchanged, these rates will end internet radio, period. The RIAA has effectively convinced this federal committee to establish rates that make online radio a non-viable business.
It’s an utterly ridiculous ruling that renders any form of internet radio non-economic. We are continuing in the belief that sanity will return as everyone involved, including the 50 million avid online radio listeners, realize just how outrageous this is.
You can probably tell by this post that I feel strongly about this. Online radio has opened up a new world for musicians and listeners alike. It has brought millions of otherwise disconnected music-lovers back to music radio, and has opened up tremendous access and promotion for thousands of musicians – both obscure and well known.
We are striving very hard to build a business. We employ eleven full time people in our ad sales team, and despite very high licensing and streaming costs, believed that we could make it work over the next several years if internet advertising continues to grow. This ruling drives the licensing fees (fees that are NOT paid by terrestrial broadcasters) completely out of reach, and makes our goal impossible.
This is a terribly ill-conceived attempt to crush a powerful and positive grassroots movement that is sweeping across the music world. The record labels’ struggles have nothing to do with online radio and killing it will further hurt their business, not help it.
We need your help. If you’d like to get involved please write your congressperson. Below is a link to point you to the right person. If you can, please send a letter or a fax that asks for a reply (emails are too easily ignored).
Congressional Directory by Zip Code
If you want to learn more details, try this informative blog post from an attorney familiar with the process:
Now more than ever, thanks for your support.
Tim (Founder)

Brand new, Pandora Podcast #7: Pedal Point

Question: What do “1999,” the instrumental section of the Who’s Tommy, and the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony all have in common?

All of these musical selections make use of a compositional technique called “Pedal Point.” Today is the debut of our latest free show, which explores this writing device and shows how it functions in the Music Genome. Pandora music analyst Michelle Alexander performs examples live in the studio, and we look at how pedals have been used differently over the years.
Here’s the new episode — be sure to listen to audio examples further down the page.

Michelle and I will be around, answering questions on the comments page. We hope you enjoy the show.


Curated stations: a few staff favorites

Sometimes people ask us what kinds of music the Pandora staff listens to. Truly, I think every possible genre of music is represented in our office in terms of what employees listen to for fun. I asked around at the office to see if my co-workers had any favorite stations they’d like to share, stations that have been carefully curated to produce pleasing results. Here’s a handful of them for your listening pleasure; I’ll post another couple rounds over the next few weeks.
If you have a station you’re particularly proud of, whether it came together easily or with a lot of work, please tell us about it in the comments and link to the station page so we can take a look/listen!
Matt, our marketing and analytics guru, is particularly proud of his Classic Soul and Go-Go station, which he explains: “Go-Go has nothing to do with Belinda Carlisle or 60s dancers in boots. It’s a drum-heavy flavor of soul/funk local to my hometown, Washington, D.C. Chuck Brown and Trouble Funk are some of Go-Go’s biggest names. This station plays some classic soul grooves as well as some unique Go-Go that is rarely heard (until now) by folks other than D.C. locals.”
Eric, an engineer and Pandora’s second ever employee back in 2000, is a big fan of his Digichill station. He says he can work to this electronic station all day long.
Michelle, who is on the music buying team, recently put together a ’60s Garage Nuggets station. See the station page for her interesting description and the long list of little-known artist seeds.
“Addi,” one of our hip-hop/rap specialists and the professional DJ for the San Francisco Giants ballpark, offers up his favorite station, Pass the Peas, a mostly instrumental funk station that he says is ideal for parties. (now you have an excuse to have a party!)
(Keep reading, there’s more….)

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Play Listen Repeat Vol. 8

Another excellent set of comments from last week’s post. Thanks to everyone for such thoughtful and stimulating notions…. We’ll definitely get back to lyrics sometime soon.
I’ve been reading Andy Summers‘ autobiography entitled One Train Later (which I love by the way), and hearing those early Police tracks again has brought up that mysterious question of what it is about certain tracks that makes them simply work.
What is the magic?
Why is it that a virtually exact replica of, say, Can’t Stand Losing You,” wouldn’t be as good as the original? That song in particular is maybe not a masterpiece, but it’s full of raw power and intensity which seems like it couldn’t be repeated or imitated.
Anyone care to take a shot at explaining what’s happening there and with other irrestistable hit songs?

New Pandora Podcast: Drums and Drumming, Part II

To paraphrase Gloria Estefan: The rhythm is gonna get you. The rhythm is gonna get you. The rhythm is gonna… okay, it just repeats from there.

Jeff Anthony is back, and he brought his drumsticks as well as his brushes this time. For this new, absolutely free show, Jeff and I jump into swing and shuffle. He plays different beats that work in reggae, punk, jazz and country, and we show the distinct similarities between these percussive patterns. Hear the subtle variations that make for one-drop reggae and double-time jazz! Marvel at the train beat that gets used in rockabilly and country! Dissect the unique style that Stewart Copeland developed with the Police! Fun for the whole family.
Check it out here, and don’t forget to play the audio examples further down on the page.

Jeff and I will be checking out the comments page all day long, answering your questions and talking shop. Please come say hello. Enjoy!


Kansas City Get-together Wednesday, February 21st, 2007!

Tonight, I’ll be in Kansas City to meet Pandora listeners and music lovers at the Screenland Theatre Crossroads. Very excited to meet Pandora listeners and music fans in the area. If you’re nearby and free, please stop by and say hi! Full details for the event are below.
When: Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 at 7:00 pm
Where: Screenland Theatre Crossroads
1656 Washington, Kansas City (map)
Hope to see you there!
Tim (Founder)

Play Listen Repeat Vol. 7

Hello all,
When it comes to song lyrics, there is a lot to discuss. I have some plans for future posts on the subject, but first, as a kind of warm-up for the later questions, I’m wondering what peoples’ favorite lyrics are. I have many, but here are a few that stand out:
From Downtown Train by Tom Waits:
“The downtown trains are full with all those Brooklyn girls. They try so hard to break out of their little worlds, but you wave your hand and they scatter like crows. They have nothing that will ever capture your heart. Theyr’e just thorns without the rose…”
And from Houses in Motion by Talking Heads:
“For a long time I felt without style or grace, wearing shoes with no socks in cold weather…”
I’d like to know peoples’ reasons, either intellectual or emotional, for remembering and loving the lyrics they do. Very curious…
Tom Waits
Talking Heads

Princeton Visit… recap

Always love the New Jersey Transit rides. California desperately needs this kind of public transportation. Thanks, Lou for picking me up at the train station. Much appreciated.
Another fun evening with Pandora listeners. Particularly pleased to have so many undergrads from the local university present. Thanks to all the student groups that helped put it together – Business Today, the Princeton Pre-Business Society and the Princeton E-Club.
Quite a motivated bunch of students… particularly when I found out it was rush week so everyone had been pulling consecutive all-nighters… oh to be young…

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New York City meetup recap…

Another great get together in NYC. Started off a little badly as we waited a half hour for the film in the theare we were using to end. One of those 4 hour French epics…
Thanks to everyone who patiently waited in the jammed lobby to be let in. Hope the free popcorn helped ease the hassle…

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