What a week! Charlottesville, Raleigh-Durham and Chapel Hill (plus Dallas last night, recap of that on the next post). Beautiful part of the country, super-hospitable people, and lots of music. Been a while since I’ve seen so much green.
Thanks to everyone who attended the various meetings and talks. I left town energized and armed with a bunch of great new ideas. I’ve posted some pix and thoughts below… if you have any you’d like me to add, please send ’em in – tour@pandora.com
First stop was Charlottesville, VA and UVA’s gorgeous campus where I spoke to Prof. Fred Maus’s music theory class…

Not a bad looking music building!
Very cool to hear that they’re really integrating rock/pop music into the core curriculum. I learned how hard it is to keep chalk from squeaking when you write on a chalkboard…
Enjoyable lunch with Brad, the first luddite blogger I’ve met. He writes for thetechlounge.com. We both stopped by Plan9 Music store (clear favorite on the blog comments and emails – thanks everyone) to pick up some local discs. The impact of the DMB success is very noticeable – they’ve done a lot to promote music locally.
Raced across campus to Darden school to speak with a group of MBA students.
So much green everywhere… Thanks to Miguel and his entrepreneurs group for a stimulating discussion. Felt like something of an imposter given my rather lackluster educational history…
Drove back across town for a meetup at the Gravity Lounge – one of the best music rooms I’ve seen in a while. Paradise for an acoustic show – you don’t find a lot of spots that are clearly built with a music-appreciating audience in mind. Low ceilings, rugs and nice absorbent bookshelves around the room. Took a picture of the venue pre-meeting.
About 50 folks showed up for a lively dialogue. Lots of discussion about how we create ‘sets’ on pandora playlists.
Ran out of steam, so skipped the clubs that night. Recovering the previous night’s redeye.
Woke up bright and early the next day for the 4 hour drive to Raleigh Durham. Where I started the day at Duke with Prof. Marc Farris’ advanced music theory class. Some sharp kids there – learned that a IV-I cadence is called “plagal”. Suggested that modes would make for good genome genes – the “phrygian” construct of some rock is a signature style.
Spent the afternoon chatting with folks at Fuqua BSchool, followed by great dinner with some of the students. “I want to start my own company” was clearly the theme. The business discussions definitely are invaluable in stimulating thoughts about how to make this whole thing work. I also learned that undergrads campout for months to enter the lottery to get basketball season tickets… biz school students in RVs, ugrads in tents!
Another beautiful day on Wednesday, headed over to Chapel Hill with my wonderful host David – a million thanks to for being such an extraordinary host – driving me around, helping with boxes of hats and Tshirts. Can’t thank you enough. Music communities are sure to grow with people like you.
Started at Kenan Flagler, the UNC bschool to speak to a group of entrepreneurs. Sharp questions.
Then met up with some undergrads on the main campus in the blendCoLab group. Really dug talking to the students – about 12 or so. Young and eager to become entrepreneurs. Also some interesting perspective on community sites. On the way out David and I stopped by SchoolKids Records (thanks all ye commenters) to pick up local stuff. There are clearly some consensus local favs – headed for the Music Genome.
Got together with about 100 folks at the Carolina Theatre that evening for a terrific meetup. People talked a lot about different ways to start stations – mood, genre, and a random start station… also a strong desire to be able to control the playlists through specific musical attributes.
Also a lot about commerce – how to fulfill more of our catalogue. We went for a couple hours, and kept rapping afterwards with some hardy souls. It’s just so great to see such enthusiasm for music. Also very pleased by the reception of our new pandora gear! More options and finally some style 🙂
Topped the evening off with a great show from Calexico (thanks for rallying Jennifer!) at the fabled local Cat’s Cradle (definitely the consensus favorite spot among the blog commenters). Cool room and great sound. Had to capture the wall-o-posters. THis is giggin’ country.
Slept the sleep of the dead…
Up early and on to Dallas, TX… to be continued.


  1. Paulette Purgason
    October 25, 2006 at 6:22am
    I missed your NC trip, only learned of Pandora.com recently. Major correction needs to be made. Do not call my hometown, the great City of Charlotte, by any other name, especially Charlottesville. Charlotte, home of the Superbowl Team "Charlotte Panthers", Charlotte Hornets, and the world-famous Charlotte Motor Speedway and home to Jeff Gordon, multiple business home of Richard Petty, and Ava Gardner's soft drink plant surpasses Atlanta Georgia in the total number of banks and monetary assets. Its airport is 20th in the nation, and first in the number of rocking chairs for air travelers! Tongue in cheek, Paulette Purgason
  2. Aqua
    October 26, 2006 at 8:03am
    I have a problem with your concept- the whole genome where you decide what a person would like to listen to based on whether or not they like "syncopated beats", "cash obcessed lyrics" and the like. What kind of robotic idea is that? Human beings cannot be dissected when it comes to tastes. When I try to tell your "Pandora" what I like, it throws back what it guesses I like based on somebody's idea (probably very musically educated, no doubt, but lacking in any real creative spontaneity, and definately removed from todays music scene.) Sorry, but the general public does not consist of a bunch of automatons willing to be milked by someone who thinks they understand how to know a persons musical taste based on their so called, "genome". Hope you will extend the courtesy of a response.
  3. Teresa
    October 27, 2006 at 1:22pm
    I just discovered Pandora (two whole days) and I love it! Your formula works for me. I've heard some great music I would never have known about without you. Thanks!
  4. Becca
    November 14, 2006 at 11:30am
    would love to see you guys in Wilmington, North Carolina...Thre's a lot of "death metal" around here, I really listen to all kinds of music and have thoroughly enjoyed theis website...had to have my little brother tell me what a genome is.
  5. darin jones
    November 20, 2006 at 11:12am
    so what good
  6. Delta One
    November 21, 2006 at 9:51am
    Love the new way that I can listen to music--I was getting tired of Yahoo Music selections--keep up the great work!!!!
  7. Cai
    December 14, 2006 at 2:15pm
    Wow, Paulette. You have completely missed the point of the MGP. It's aim (from what I have gathered) is not to pick apart a person's tastes and serve them back in what is considered a correctly calculated manner. One can hardly make an attempt at this without realizing the nuances of the human mind; the mind is not a simple puzzle. The MGP simply aides exploration of one's own likes and dislikes, just as trying on clothes might help you find your style. It gives you samples to work with. What i like so much about Pandora is that it not only gives me the samples, but they are organised and geared towards me using information I myself have given it. Pandora doesn't tell us who we are or what we want. It just gives hints :)
  8. Jessica
    January 26, 2007 at 5:12pm
    ~hey im so glad that i have people to appreciate and understand music as much as i do!! Music has been in my blood quiet a while, but all in all, the true music comes from within the human soul, and thrives to another heart!~ :-) Thanks again!
  9. Ely
    January 30, 2007 at 1:51pm
    If you are looking for great local music in North Carolina, these two bands are true GEMS. They are Firecracker Jazz Band from the Asheville area and www.firecrackerjazz.com and Carolina Chocolate Drops www.carolinachocolatedrops.com from the Piedmont area.
  10. nanassetta
    February 12, 2007 at 6:13pm
    How about some Elliott Yamin for Virginians? Movin on drops 2/13/07. Full CD (can pre-order now at Amazon) 3/20/07

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