Nashville: Country Music’s Red Carpet

The CMT Awards graciously invited Pandora to attend this year’s ceremony and to tweet from the Purple Carpet as Country’s hottest celebs arrived at the show. While we thoroughly enjoyed being close to the stars, we also took this opportunity to learn more about Nashville, a place referred to by many as “Music City”.

CUnderwood.JPGThousands of aspiring musicians have flocked to Music City over the years with a guitar and a dream hoping to take their place alongside the many greats of American music. Everyone from Dolly Parton to Black Keys, Elvis to Taylor Swift, Waylon Jennings to Jack White have done time in Nashville. The city’s “Music Row” is home to hundreds of record labels, publishing houses and recording studios focusing on gospel, country, pop and more.
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New Orleans: Sunrise to Midnight

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, it is a place where generations upon generations of musicians have cultivated their unique sounds, you can feel it and hear it as you walk through the city, there is nothing else quite like it.

Screen shot 2012-05-04 at 4.32.12 PM.pngA few of us from Pandora were very lucky to attend this year’s Jazz and Heritage Festival and we soaked in the amazing sounds, hospitality and culture of the city. Our founder, Tim, and leader of music curation, Addi, spoke at the Sync Up conference, which is put on in conjunction with the festival. We also met up with some of our New Orleans listeners at a Sunday morning Town Hall. It was great to connect with our local New Orleans listeners amid such a musical weekend.

We had some amazing musical experiences on the streets of the city, both at and outside of the festival, thanks to a couple of wonderful local guides who quickly became our newest friends.
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Pandora at SXSW

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 10.19.26 AM[1].pngWe did it! Weeks of late nights and early mornings, hundreds of tacos and thousands of music fans and now we are home from hosting our first official showcase at the South by Southwest festival in Austin TX: Pandora’s very own Discovery Den.

This year the music portion of SXSW saw at least 25,000 attendees, hundreds of venues and more than 2,000 bands of every genre possible. The festival is a place where lesser known artists become discovered as well as where popular artists often show up as special guests. Some of the festival’s top names this year included Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Jack White and Kanye West. At the Pandora Discovery Den, we featured four days and nights of amazing music including acts like Band of Skulls, Big K.R.I.T., Glen Hansard and Gary Clark Jr. The place was packed and people seemed to be having a good time, which we love!
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SXSW, Here We Come…

Every March, music aficionados and fans alike head to Austin, Texas for the renowned SXSW festival and it’s only a natural fit for Pandora to be there too. We are excited that, for the first time ever, we will have an official presence at the festival.

Because Pandora enriches the lives of music fans by helping them discover and rediscover music they love, we are bringing that concept to life with the Pandora Discovery Den. The Pandora Discovery Den will be hosted at the legendary Austin venue Antone’s from Tuesday, March 13 through Friday, March 16.

We will treat attendees to a variety of live musical performances, spanning from Rock to Hip Hop to Americana, including Theophilus London, WALK THE MOON, Gary Clark Jr and Bahamas. Attendees will also have the chance to win daily raffles with limited-edition items, participate in hands-on technology demos and much more!
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Hometown town hall…

We had a great get-together last Thursday in our very own hometown of Oakland, CA at a perfect spot called Preservation Park, right downtown.

Town Hall_Oakland 12.8.jpgA really large crowd showed up, loaded with lots of questions and comments:
There were many questions about how we decide what music goes in Pandora, and on how artists are paid – including from a number of musicians whose music is on Pandora. There were also questions and suggestions about advertising on our site – is it targeted? For example, one married attendee asked about the frequency of dating site ads…I assured her this wasn’t a hint of any kind!

Pandora is very conservative on this issue, and it is heartening that our listeners also have a pragmatic attitude about the business benefits – good thing considering how Pandora works!
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Meeting Dr. Watson, Co-Discoverer of DNA and Creator of the Human Genome Project

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I had the rare treat of meeting with, and presenting Pandora and the Music Genome Project to the scientist who actually discovered DNA, Dr. James Watson. He’s a wonderful man with an obvious curiosity, and some very strong opinions about Chinese opera!

Had a terrific time touring the Cold Spring Harbor facility out on Long Island, where a global assembly of some of the world’s brightest natural scientists come together to do bench research. We convened for a town hall in a seminar room full of biologists and their friends to talk Genome.

It was certainly an unusual town hall with a whole new set of questions around the science and implications of the Music Genome Project.
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