One of my favorite things is to hear a band for the first time without knowing a single thing about them, not even their name. It’s like having someone put a blindfold on me, lead me somewhere, then pull it off. I have to figure out where I am sonically, how I got there, what’s around the corners and behind the closed doors. It’s part detective work, part speculation, part historical research, part forensic analysis. The warm distortion on the drums in the intro sounds like analog tape; this song might be from the 60s or 70s. The fast, downstroke strumming and grit on the guitars is influenced by punk, but when the vocalist comes in, her full, smooth voice and abstract lyrics give it a more modern feel. The breathy synths that enter on the chorus sound like a tongue-in-cheek reference to New Wave, placing the song in the contemporary indie-pop realm. But I’m only a minute-forty-five into a four-minute song. Anything could happen. A scratchy, atonal viola solo could tilt the whole thing further away from the mainstream. Maybe when I go to look up the band, I’ll discover they’re from the 80s, in which case the synthesizer thing and the intentionally dirty production would be revealed as forward-thinking. As much information as I pick up along the way, I won’t really know anything until I’ve heard everything. Read More →
MLK Day never fails to find us reflecting on Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. As a lifelong record collector, musician and now Music Curator for Pandora – it also reminds me how the birth of the Civil Rights Movement was a groundbreaking time in music. It was a time that inspired songwriters of many genres to pen some of the most powerful and beautiful songs in the history of recorded music. During this part of the 1960s and 1970s, Gospel, Folk, Rock, Funk, Soul, Blues and even Jazz included musicians singing about themes of freedom and equal rights.
To commemorate this incredibly important time in history, we’ve made a Pandora Mix Tape: Songs Of Change.
As much as I dig all kinds of new music, it’s the songs recorded during this time that tend to populate most of my music collection – my Pandora profile alone is telltale proof of my love for the classics. My generation’s musicians are lucky in that they never had to muse on the draft or the kinds of segregation that existed in the past.
Music discovery has always been at the heart of the Pandora experience and today we’re thrilled to announce the launch of personalized station recommendations on both iOS and Android mobile devices.
Pandora had 76.2 million people listening to 1.58 billion hours of music just last month alone. When you layer on the more than 35 billion pieces of thumb feedback we have received since launching in 2005, it equates to billions of data points right at our fingertips. These valuable insights into our listeners’ tastes provide us with a deep understanding of what people love about music and enables us to power the best personalized radio experience for each individual listener.
Up until now, we have primarily been focused on making behind-the-scenes improvements to the playlist experience and we’re excited about the opportunity to apply our same methodology to this brand new Pandora feature. Read More →
Happy New Year!
Last month we released a new version of our Pandora app for iOS that included a top-requested new product feature from our listeners: an Alarm Clock. The response from listeners using the new Alarm Clock has been overwhelmingly positive and today I’m thrilled to share that we’re releasing version 5.1 for Android that will now allow listeners on Android smartphones to wake up to their favorite Pandora music as well.
Just like the one we built for iOS, the Alarm Clock for Android includes key features like the ability to easily snooze. When the alarm goes off, your music will begin to play with album art scrolling in the background. At this point, you can choose to keep listening to your music simply by tapping the song title or artist name on your phone screen, snooze or turn off the alarm. There are also a few notable features that are unique to the Alarm Clock for Android, including the ability to customize how often your alarm repeats throughout the week. Since you don’t have to keep the Pandora app running in the foreground in order for the alarm to play music when it fires, the Alarm Clock for Android is easier than ever to use. Read More →
With 2014 around the corner, let’s rewind through 2013 to capture some of the most memorable musical moments with our End of Year genre stations.
Pop music reached record popularity in 2013 with the help of gigantic crossover hits from Rock, R&B, Hip Hop and Dance. Check out 2013 Top Pop for the biggest Pop chart-toppers on Pandora. It was a very good year for TV alums, veteran Justin Timberlake and newcomer Ariana Grande both made a huge splash. Beyond all the hype, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez delivered with the biggest hits of their career. And of course one of the most anticipated releases of the year was from One Direction, following their multi-monster singles. Finally, leading up to his 2014 Superbowl performance, Bruno Mars proved to be a superstar with the energetic “Locked out of Heaven” and “Treasure” to the more emotional “When I Was Your Man”. Read More →
Long before the inception of Pandora, I can vividly recall the very first thumbs-down that I gave to a song. It also happened to be my first time butting heads with my parents on musical taste. It was Christmas of 1980 and my father had just dropped the hi-fi needle on a scratchy 45-rpm copy of Engelbert Humperdinck’s “A Night To Remember.” Even though I was only nine-years-old, I knew before the first chorus that I didn’t like his voice.
“What is this?” I asked. My father replied, “It’s my favorite Christmas song by Engelbert Humperdinck.” I remember suddenly laughing uncontrollably.
“What? What’s so funny?” My dad demanded. “That’s not his real name,” I insisted. Now my father’s face was starting to redden as he retorted, “The man has a terrific voice. He’s English…just like The Beatles!” Read More →