Hitting Refresh: An Update to our UI

In order to achieve our company purpose of unleashing the infinite power of music, we are continually innovating and iterating. We constantly evolve both our technology and design to provide the best music platform for listeners, advertisers and artists.

Today, I’m very excited to unveil our latest innovation, the beta release of Pandora’s Station Personalization interface on iOS and Android (http://pdora.co/1ybSTY4). The design of this latest update is part of our ongoing dedication to innovate the UX and UI across platforms, and as a result, provide effortless music discovery and listening for more than 75 million listeners each month.

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Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts

XOV

Dark pop from Stockholm, Sweden and described by MTV Buzzworthy as a “…superstar in the making, surrounded by dark, gloomy synthesizers … recalling a cross between Lorde, Robyn and The Weeknd.” XOV, the moniker of Damian Ardestani, makes his US debut with the track “Animal,” featured on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack. Lorde, who got in touch with him via a Twitter direct message, curated it. He plans to release his debut EP in early 2015 under the Sony Music label.

X Suns

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 9.12.35 AMYou don’t have to be from Chicago to remember post-rock. Back in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, a small population of Windy City indie bands simultaneously shared a love for the electric guitar distortion and delay pedal-tweaking of shoegazing – as well as the heady arrangements of prog (but they insisted on calling it math-rock instead of prog). The post-rock subgenre earned its name because these bands implemented the use of rock instrumentation (guitars, bass, drums) to create non-rocking textures and soundscapes. Many of these musicians felt that it was more important to have a durable winter jacket than a lead singer, hence the then popularity of parka-clad instrumental bands like Tortoise. X Suns aren’t from Chicago. They’re from Seattle. They specialize in putting the rock back in post-rock. In most cases, this might bring it back to just rock, save X Suns’ labyrinthine changes, gorgeously layered guitar textures and songs sans singers. They are also prone to jamming on jazzy outbursts and Hawkwind inspired space-rock freak-outs. Read More →

Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: The California Honeydrops perform “All Day, All Night”

The California Honeydrops are an American blues band with modern R&B stylings and gospel influences. A variety of instruments, including horns, organ, acoustic rhythm piano and guitar are used to create their soulful groove. Other artists that can be heard on their station include Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Ben Harper. They came by and played “All Day, All Night” off their album Like You Mean It.

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts

Smashing Satellites

Smashing Satellites are a Canadian electro-rock project featuring the former lead guitarist and vocalist Salvatore Costa of rock band My Darkest Days. They’ve recently introduced their debut single “Hounds,” the opening track of their first EP release, A-Side (SonicAluzion). Founded by Costa, who has been described as having one of the most powerful and unique vocal timbres in music, “Hounds” combines ‘80s style funky drums, synths and pure fun.

Barry Rothbart

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 8.02.54 PMBicoastal comedian Barry Rothbart is capping off a busy couple of years with his debut album, Streets of Fire. After being named one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch in 2013,” he also appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street later that year. Rothbart made his late night television debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, followed by appearances on Conan, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Adam Devine’s House Party. On his release from ASpecialThing Records, Rothbart smoothly delivers the funny as he ponders the weird confidence of little kids, points out that all advice sounds exactly the same, wishes Liam Neeson was his dad and recounts his adventures in making a fool of himself at the Burger King drive-thru. His loose, improvisational crowd work is a rarity on any comedy album and establishes him as a unique new voice in the genre. Be sure to keep your ears open for the delightfully bizarre bonus track. Read More →

Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: EDJ performs “Minor Miracles”

EDJ is the new solo project from Eric D. Johnson (formerly of Fruit Bats and The Shins). His mellow rock style frequently features acoustic rhythm guitars and piano with a subtle use of vocal harmony. Other artists that can be heard on EDJ’s station include The Boxer Rebellion, The Antlers and Birds of Tokyo. He came by and played “Minor Miracles” off his self-titled debut album, EDJ.

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts 

Zella Day

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 9.20.06 AMZella Day is an up-and-coming indie pop artist based out of Los Angeles who has been described as the “happier version of Lana Del Rey.” She came to attention in 2011 with her haunting, stripped-back cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” which lead her to playing six shows at SXSW this year. With influences ranging from Mason Jennings, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, old western films and her Arizona mountain town upbringing; her eponymous debut EP showcases just that – with the addition of drum machines and electronics.

Didrick

At only 18-years-old Swedish-born Didrick is a triple threat: DJ, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He’s done official remixes for Cazzette and Avicii & Nicky Romero, but he is also well known for remixing 78 tracks released by Monstercat Records into a single song, performed live. The track features a string quartet, swingin’ horns and a guitar solo even Slash would love. He’s definitely not your average electro house banger. If you breathe, sleep and eat EDM; Didrick should be your next course.

The Aquadolls

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 9.21.45 AMSelf-proclaimed “perma-teenage mermaids,” buzzing two girl, two guy Orange County band The Aquadolls are currently a hot item in the Burger Records scene. They combine highly energetic garage pop melodies with sixties surf-guitar riffs in the vein of Shannon & The Clams, Best Coast and Black Lips. Wade into tracks like “Wander” and “We Are Free” off their upcoming album Stoked On You and get stoked for sunny Southern Californian sounds this winter. Read More →

Inside Song: The Balancing Act of Rhymes

filteredsongwritingAs I’m sure you’re aware, most song lyrics have rhyming words at the end of each line. It’s so pervasive in Western popular music that you might struggle to think of a song without rhyming lyrics. Rhymes provide a linguistic resolution, or a kind of verbal downbeat. They feel solid and grounding and can almost magically add weight to the meaning of the lyrics if done right.

In most cases, maybe even in an ideal situation, song rhymes are nearly transparent; they provide the pleasant feeling of a balanced, solved syntactical equation and supply extra heft and authority to the meaning without drawing much attention to themselves.

When rhymes stand out, you want them to do so for the right reasons. First and foremost, it’s an impressive feat to say something truly meaningful in rhyme, given the limited options we’ve got in the English language, the finite number of words that rhyme.

If you can go beyond that by using a familiar rhyme in a novel way or finding a new, unique rhyme, and still be able to serve the lyrical meaning, then it’s a virtuosic act. Read More →

Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: Goodnight, Texas performs “A Bank Robber’s Nursery Rhyme”

Goodnight, Texas is an American folk-appalachian band made up of members Avi Vinocur (formerly of The Stone Foxes), Patrick Dyer Wolf, Alex Nash and Bobby Kendall. They use a variety of instruments including banjo, mandolin, acoustic rhythm guitar, and a subtle use of vocal harmonies to create their Americana sound. Other artists that can be heard on the Goodnight, Texas station include The Wood Brothers, Gregory Alan Isakov, Old Crow Medicine Show. They came by and played “A Bank Robber’s Nursery Rhyme” off their latest album Uncle John Farquhar.

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts 

LOLAWOLF

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 4.07.00 PMLOLAWOLF is a new trio featuring the vocals of Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet. She’s also well known for her acting roles in Divergent and X-Men: First Class. The Lolawolf EP was characterized by Pitchfork as “surging electronic pop” while Neon Gold called their track “Drive (Los Angeles)” “…a perfect piece of distinctive, melody-driven, back-to-the-future synth candy.” We think it sounds like Kesha and Banks on a trap binge!


Jack + Eliza

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 4.13.36 PMChildhood friends turned collaborators Jack + Eliza take a stripped-down approach towards ‘60s psychedelia. Armed with just their vocals and electric guitars, they’ve teamed with producer Chris Zane (Passion Pit, Mumford & Sons) combining the harmonies of bands like The Beach Boys and The Mamas & The Papas with stripped-down contemporaries The xx and Father John Misty. Check out the duo’s catchy single “Hold The Line.”

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You Thumbed, Nick Jonas Answered

nick jonasBy now you may be familiar with Thumb Moments – with a single thumb, listeners have enjoyed one-on-one shows with Lindsey Stirling, Matt Nathanson and Bush over the past few weeks.  With each one, there has been a mix of laughing, crying, singing and sometimes screaming, but with our latest Thumb Moment artist, listeners just couldn’t help but dance.

This time around, Nick Jonas surprised 12 listeners with a personal phone call and private performance of his new single “Jealous” off of his upcoming debut album, which proved to be the perfect choice for encouraging his fans to join him as backup dancers. His fans have some serious moves; check out the video below to see for yourself.

We’re not done quite yet – maybe your favorite artist is next.  So stay tuned for more and keep sharing your ultimate “Thumb Moments” with us – use #ThumbMoments via social or in the comments below.