Pandora

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

Portland, Day 2

Another great day in Portland. Woke up buzzing from last night’s open mic.
First stop, breakfast with Ezra Ace Careaff, local music editor for the Portland Mercury and owner of indie label Slowdance (home of the Velvet Teen). I continue to be inspired by the entrepreneurs who have started these labels. 50/50 joint ventures. It’s the future model for indie music.

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Pandora Sidebars for Your Blog

Tonight we’re rolling out a really easy way to integrate your Pandora stations and favorite songs into your website or blog. For an example of what this looks like click here and look in the sidebar on the right-hand-side. You can add this kind of sidebar to your page by inserting just two lines into your homepage or blog template.
Let’s say that you’d like to share the stations you’re creating with everyone that visits your blog or personal homepage. We thought it would be cool if it was really easy to add these items to your page. To that end, we’ve created this new kind of feed to compliment our existing RSS feeds.
These new feeds are JavaScript includes that you can place into your blog or homepage template with one simple step. There are two different feeds. The first generates a nice looking list of all your stations. Your site visitors will be able to click to liste and it will always stay up to date with your most recently created stations. The second feed lists the songs your discovering on Pandora; choose from a range of styles including a compact version as well as a beautiful version that shows off the song album art. Your site visitors can click through to learn more about the song, listen to a sample, buy the track from iTunes, buy the album from Amazon, or create a new Pandora station from the song.
Creating the embedding code is really easy. Just visit this page: http://www.pandora.com/feeds#blog, pick a style, enter your Pandora username (your email address) and click the “Generate HTML” button. Copy the code that’s generated to the sidebar portion of your blog and you’re done.
For all the CSS hackers out there, you’re welcome to customize the display style with CSS. Each element has been given a unique id to make it easy for you to assign custom styles.
Update 3/13: We released a new version tonight that should make things work better in a wider variety of settings. In particular we’re using CSS that is a bit more explicit about what should be displayed and how. We’ve also updated the mechanism we use for opening new windows that should fix some problems with popup blockers. Thanks for your help and feedback on all of this these last few days.

Coming back to Washington DC

It looks like I’m going to be heading back to DC for another town hall meeting. Had a great response from enthusiastic listeners last time, and can’t wait to come back to meet new users and see some familiar faces. The full details are below!
When: Wednesday, November 15th, 2006 – 7pm
Where: DCJCC Community Hall
1529 15th St NW
Directions
Please RSVP by sending an email to tour@pandora.com with DC in the subject line. Hope to see you there!
Cheers,
Tim (Founder)

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.