Looking Back On The Music Of 2014, Genre By Genre

What’s most memorable about your favorite music of 2014? Jog your memory by diving into one of Pandora’s many End Of Year stations. If you like the mainstream music across pop, rock, country, Christian, dance and regional Mex – then this blog is for you.

Ever wonder what the number one songs are based on your thumbs? Here’s a review of the top songs of the year on Pandora. Let’s start with some of the highlights of 2014 Top Pop:

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 6.55.12 PM OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” kicked off 2014 in the number one spot, but five-and-a-half months later Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” bumped it by a nose. She held that position for two months before two new artists that own a big piece of pop music in 2014 made their mark. Ariana Grande’s “Problem” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” stayed at number one for three weeks. But don’t get too comfy Iggy, because here comes Sam the man! The week of July 24, the uplifting gospel-infused “Stay with Me” from Sam Smith settled in at number one…that is until October 22, when Meghan Trainor, a Nashville newcomer gave us arguably the most infectious song of the year with “All About That Bass.” But Jeremih’s “Don’t Tell Em,” which still holds the first place spot, quickly displaced that three weeks later. R&B influenced ballads ruled in 2014 with huge hits from John Legend, Sam Smith, Hozier and now George Ezra coming on strong. Sam Smith is an amazing solo story this year along with the mainstream success of “Latch” and “La La La” but the male singer-songwriter with unbelievable worldwide appeal is Ed Sheeran. Also, Sia is Wonder Woman! She writes great songs – “Diamonds,” “Titanium,” “Wild Ones” and man, what a voice! “Chandelier” and now the new Annie soundtrack? And of course, Taylor Swift said goodbye to country and Spotify, entering the pop realm with “Shake It Up.” Now it looks like “Blank Space” will be even bigger. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks 

Artist Debuts

Hannah Diamond

Sugary dance-pop vocalist Hannah Diamond is one of the first breakthrough artists to come out of the new British label and collective, PC Music, who hope to usher in a new roster of “future-pop” stars. Her debut commercial single “Every Night” has received accolades from Stereogum and Pitchfork. Her previous single “Pink and Blue” placed number five in Fact Magazine’s “100 Best Tracks Of The Decade So Far.”

The Connection

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 9.22.12 AMChampioned by Little Steven Van Zandt, The Connection is a Portsmouth, New Hampshire quintet specializing in jangly power-pop and melodic garage rock. Armed with bowl-cuts, Beatle-boots, skinny neckties, Chuck Taylors, Rickenbackers and Telecasters; these guys haven’t just done their homework – they’re living it. The band’s 2013 debut album Let It Rock was named after the Chuck Berry song (covered here). Let It Rock boasts 13 recordings that sound like a more functional version of The Real Kids filtered through an early Byrds inspired discipline. Read More →

10 Thumbs Ups For Christmas

Guest blogger and current Pandora Comedy Spotlight comedian Dan Cummins muses on the holidays…

Christmas stresses me the hell out. Let’s start there.

I feel like every year I end up rushing around at the last minute to buy gifts, terrified that I’ll spend way too much money on a bunch of poorly thought-out doodads everyone will just hate anyway.

I worry that my two kids Kyler and Monroe will LOVE the presents they get from their mom (my ex-wife), and that my gifts will quickly fall into the pile of undesirables which will be almost immediately placed in the bottom of a closet where they will remain until given to Goodwill in untouched, mint condition. Ugh.

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I worry that my fiancé will get me a WAY better gift than I’ll get her, and I’ll be so riddled with shame and guilt that I’ll barely be able to enjoy my third helping of mashed potatoes and gravy. And I really worry that there won’t be enough mashed potatoes and gravy for me to have a third helping.

Anyways… Read More →

Happy Holidays- Pandora Launches on Xbox One

I am incredibly excited to announce that as of today Pandora is available for download on Xbox One devices! The timing of this launch couldn’t be better as Xbox One users can now tune into their favorite Pandora stations when celebrating with family and friends this holiday season.

Pandora for Xbox One is a best-in-class application native to Xbox One and loaded with really exciting and innovative new features. We customized our HTML5-based Pandora for TV interface specifically for the Xbox One, and also stayed true to Pandora’s mission of being the effortless source of music for Pandora listeners. Pandora on Xbox One takes advantage of all the functionality the platform has to offer and our team built the application to look amazing on the biggest screen in your home.

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Putting The Hip In Holiday

This last Tuesday, Pandora sent out the push notification: “Our music curators think you’ll love Hipster Holidays Radio this holiday season. Try it today!” If you’ve ever seeded or thumbed-up anything deemed cool, indie or “hip” – you received that notification. It’s really that simple.

Pandora is headquartered in a hip part of Oakland, California – which means each day, our employees walk streets considered by many to be a West Coast epicenter of hipsterdom. But this recent social conversation around the term “hipster” got us thinking more critically: what’s the history behind this word, anyway? Being the OCD music and pop-culture geeks that we are, the subject was researched! And, wouldn’t you know it, the word has a deep musical tie in.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 10.53.58 AMThe origin of the term “hipster” has nothing to do with boutique fixed-gear bicycles. But it pedals back to 1938 when Cab Calloway jokingly wrote The Hepster Dictionary to accompany his sheet music – it was a glossary of jive terms spoken by “hepcats” (African American jazz enthusiasts). So then “hepcat” evolved into “hipster” by the 1940s. In June of 1948, Anatole Broyard wrote a piece for Partisan Review entitled “A Portrait of the Hipster.” In it, he describes hipsters as blues and jazz informed delinquents on a quest for self-definition. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts

Brooklyn Duo

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 4.17.14 PMThis Brooklyn-based comprising duo Patrick Laird (Break Of Reality) and Marnie Laird has gained a significant following on YouTube for their piano/cello covers of popular music. Their Brooklyn Sessions debut album features reinterpretations of pop hits like “Am I Wrong” originally performed by Nico & Vinz, “Chandelier” by Sia, “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy and “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith.

Mr Fijiwiji

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 4.22.24 PMDespite his silly name Mr Fijiwiji produces some serious music. His latest release on Monstercat Records is much more mature than his 19-years would have you believe. Each track is an expert exercise in Chillstep, dripping with ethereal synth goodness. If Tycho and Porter Robinson made an album together, it just might sound like Keeping It Surreal. Read More →

What you listened to in 2014…

As 2014 comes to a close, we wanted to take a look back and see what music you listened to most this year. Let’s start by saying you listen to a lot of music – on average, 20 hours each month.

So, what songs spun the most? Your tastes run the gamut, from Sam Smith‘s top spinning song “Stay With Me” to a few selections from the Frozen soundtrack and many more in between.

Check out the Top 25 Most Spun Songs below (based on songs added to Pandora in 2014):

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Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: Jesse Boykins performs “Plain”

Jesse Boykins III is an American R&B singer. His soulful sound combines modern R&B styling with electronica and jazz influences, and frequently features romantic lyrics. Other artists that can be heard on his station include Jill Scott, Maxwell, and Erykah Badu. He came by the office with guitarist, Eun Wha Lee (JinJoo), and pianist, Basil Wajdowicz, and played “Plain” off his recent album Love Apparatus.