From the Curators: Your Summer Soundtrack for 2013

Every time I hear “1st Of Tha Month” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, it takes me back to a 1996 family vacation in Florida. Even though it’s been years and my musical tastes have changed, I just can’t shake the feeling that song gives me. Music is known for its ability to transport you to a time and place; it’s likely that if you hear “summer anthems” from past years, you’ll be transported back to that time. It just wouldn’t be summer without a soundtrack.

summer3What will be your soundtrack for Summer 2013? In an effort to unlock some themes for this summer, we’ll take a look at a few of this season’s anticipated releases. How might the “genetic” makeup of this year’s releases evolve your current playlists? Read More →

From the Music Genome Project: The Beatles – Lennon vs. McCartney

In an apparent dig at his former Beatle bandmate Paul McCartney, John Lennon sang: “The only thing you done was ‘Yesterday’… the sound you make is muzak to my ears,” that was in his 1971 song “How Do You Sleep.” It’s no secret that tension was running high between John and Paul in the years leading to The Beatles breakup in 1970. Tension continued in the years following the breakup. In the early 70s, the band endured a four-year legal battle that dissolved their contractual partnership. John and Paul never recorded together again.

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Who was the musical genius behind The Beatles, John or Paul? Anyone familiar with the Beatle’s catalog will offer an opinion. I’m going to stay out of that debate but in the following entry I’ll show you what the Music Genome Project can tell us about John and Paul’s singing and songwriting styles. Let’s take a look…

Vocal performance

For starters, Paul possesses the wider vocal range. His song “Helter Skelter” is a great place to hear him pushing the limits of his upper register. “Helter Skelter” has a hard rock approach, which is a bit of a departure for Paul because he usually sings with a smoother tone. Read More →

From the Curators: Your Guide to National Puerto Rican Day

Every June, on the second Sunday of the month, New York’s Puerto Rican community takes to the streets of Manhattan in a mass outpouring of nationalist pride and profound love for their beloved Isla del Encanto, manifested in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, a hugely prolific event that’s been taking place in the Big Apple since 1958. Also known as el desfile puertorriqueño, the parade is a mass celebration of the social and cultural contributions of the more than four million Puerto Ricans currently living in the United States, as well as the four million that still reside on the island. The day is an opportunity for the island’s diaspora, many of whom have never set foot in the Caribbean, to reflect on and honor their ancestors.

puerto rico imageMore than anything, the New York parade is a huge street party, where friends and family can let loose to the traditional sounds of bomba, plena and of course, salsa! With this in mind, Pandora invites you to dig deep in to the sabor boricua and unleash your inner coquí with these two Puerto Rican themed salsa stations! Read More →

From the Curators: Pandora’s Guide to Summer Listening

Memorial Day weekend is here! Kick off your summer fun by firing up the BBQ, hitting the beach, hangin’ at a picnic, hitting the road and launching into some summertime music. Our freshly sun-screened curators invite you to bring our expanded selection of Pandora Summer Stations with you!

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 Decades of nostalgic summer hits….

Evoke a carefree summer mood with feel-good Summer Hits of the 2000s including tracks from Matchbox 20, Christina Aguilera, Nelly and Jimmy Eat World.

Flashback to the Summer Hits of the 90s with summer Pop, R&B and Rock hits from Boyz II Men, Third Eye Blind, Britney Spears and Nirvana.

Read More →

Inside the Comedy Genome: The Art of Analyzing Humor

Pandora has been offering comedy for over two years now and we thought it was about time we shared some of the inner workings of our Comedy Genome Project. This month we have a guest post from our esteemed Comedy Analyst, Dave Thomason. In addition to analyzing comedy bits in his day job, Dave is a fine stand up comic in his own right. Thanks for reading!

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I think it’s some sort of rule that if you’re going to talk about analyzing comedy, you have to mention that E.B. White quote: “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested, and the frog dies of it.” I’ve been analyzing comedy at Pandora for two-and-a-half years, and I thought it would be fun to explore some of the characteristics we listen for in a typical comedy track.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 1.38.00 PMIn our Comedy Genome, the categories of genes I find most interesting are the ones that characterize the “Comic Hook” of a particular track. These genes try to answer the question, “What’s funny about this?” We don’t have an objective measure of funniness; a joke that you find hilarious and insightful, another person may find dull and offensive. But what we try to do is keep track of some of the most common devices comedians use in pursuit of a laugh. Read More →

Pandora Comedy Celebrates Two Years of Laughter

Funny stuff is happening at Pandora!

This week marks two years since Pandora launched the Comedy Genome Project. Just like our music stations, Pandora Comedy is designed to give our listeners a personalized listening experience to help them discover comedy they love, while providing artists with radio airplay and a new way to connect with fans.

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Since May 2011, our Comedy collection has grown from 10,000 comedy tracks to over 25,000 tracks, and from 700 to 1,700 comedians. Each of those tracks has been analyzed according to specific comedy traits before being added to the collection.  We’ve captured exclusive content at performances in both New York and Los Angeles and hosted live comedy sessions at our Oakland HQ for comics Jason Love, Don Friesen, Beth Stelling, Will Durst, Ian Karmel, and Kevin Avery. Since the launch, we have also doubled the number of comedy genre stations with exciting additions like Women in Comedy, Alternative Comedy, and Latino ComedyRead More →

From The Curators: Your Pandora Guide to Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the somewhat improbable victory in 1862 of the Mexican army over a larger and better equipped invading French force, in what became known as “La Batalla de Puebla,” or “The Battle of Puebla.” The French returned the following year, occupying Mexico for the next three years, but we’ll save that for a different blog.

Cinco de Mayo Photo

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a festive celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, which seems to gain in popularity every year. It provides us with a chance to indulge in some of Mexico’s many profound cultural contributions, with music being at top of the list. With this in mind, we at Pandora would like to invite you to give our Cinco de Mayo genre station a spin! Read More →

Inside the Music Genome: Improvisation in Jazz, what the heck is going on in there?

In honor of International Jazz Day we have a guest posting from one of our longest-tenured music analysts who specializes in the jazz genre. Jeffrey Burr is not only a Pandora music analyst, he is also a guitarist who’s played with with Norah Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Ari Hoenig and has released several albums.

However you choose to celebrate International Jazz Day, we hope this posting sheds a little light on the genre from the perspective of a Music Genome Project specialist.

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In an ancient age lost to the mists of time, the Music Genome Supermen forged the Jazz Genome, the framework that we music analysts use to characterize songs in the Jazz oeuvre. I’d like to talk a bit about what makes jazz special in the context of the music analysis work I do for Pandora. Read More →

From the Curators: Summer Music Festival Guide

It’s the time of the year when festival season kicks off and many artists go on tour. Whether it’s under the blazing sun, surrounded by palm trees, in the mountains, or in a large sporting arena, there are plenty of opportunities to experience your favorite artist in person.

This summer, the popular early-90s Britpop movement is revived in full force with some of the genre’s early originators reuniting and hitting the road and festival circuit. Since headlining a show at Hyde Park for the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, Blur have continued to headline major European festivals and will be back in the U.S. this spring for more! Pioneers of the Madchester movement, The Stone Roses,  have also reunited and set out on a world tour with plans of releasing their first album since 1994’s Second Coming.

Read More →

From the Curators: Latin Genre Stations Update

The Curation Team at Pandora has been hard at work enhancing some of our selection of Latin genre stations and we’re very excited to share the new additions with you. Latin music is hugely popular on Pandora, with a large portion of the songs and artists requested by our listeners. Often, Latin music is thought of as a singular, all-encompassing genre, but we think this does a disservice to the wide variety of Latin music out there. Here are a couple of the stations that we’re excited to share:latin photo

Why not give our Cumbia station a spin at your next house party. Originating on the Atlantic coast of Colombia, cumbia is arguably the most popular Latin dance rhythm in the world, routinely making dance floors shake and sway across oceans and hemispheres. While many countries have successfully appropriated and adapted the cumbia in their own way, perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in Mexico, where cumbia is as common as the ranchera and the polka. This station features some of the giants of Colombian cumbia, like Lisandro Meza, La Sonora Dinamita and Aniceto Molina, as well as some of the stars of its Mexican counterpart, including artists like Fito Olivares, Celso Piña and Rigo Tovar. Read More →