Hi everybody and welcome to the Pandora Preview. For some time we’ve been hard at work building what we hope will be the best music discovery service anywhere and we’ve just kicked off our preview release. We’ve dedicated our attention to creating a service that is all about the music itself. Pandora isn’t focused on bios, histories, band photos, hyperlinks and so forth. Instead we created something that lets you use your ears, not your mouse to discover new music.
Everyone here is really passionate about helping people connect with great music. I think Pandora is a great step toward that goal and I hope you discover something really great today. For my part, I’ve been listening to stations based on Wilco, Bright Eyes, and Iron & Wine and I’m hearing something new and unexpected every day.
The preview release is all about getting your feedback and we’d love to hear from you. Drop a note to pandora-support with your feedback or leave us a comment here on the blog. We’re really looking forward to hearing from you.

Comments

  1. Zachery Bir
    July 26, 2005 at 1:55pm
    I love it! The only extra things I could dream of getting hold of are instrumentation on the various criteria to aid in really narrow training, and access to my radio stations over an authenticated stream in iTunes (perhaps without the ability to train it via that interface).
    Reply
  2. Steve Frawley
    July 27, 2005 at 6:35pm
    Wow! This is fun! I love music more than almost everything and I am enjoying the way things come together
    Reply
  3. Brian Goetz
    July 27, 2005 at 6:51pm
    This is great! Years ago, when I was in college, I had an army of intelligent agents (i.e., friends) on the hunt for new music I might like. But now, my friends lives have gotten busier, and its harder to find new stuff that is "like" what I like. A few comments, I'm sure most of which are already in the works: - A number of actions in the UI are irreversible; if I skip a song, I can't go back, and if I change stations from A to B to A, I lose what was playing before on A. This makes me afraid to click on things. - Let me go back and hear a song again! I know its like radio, but it can be like Tivo too! - More history! Right now, I can only see the last three songs on a channel; I'd like to see more. I might want to buy one of them, but if its gone when it scrolls off, that's a loss for both of us. Ideally, "every song you ever played for me." Database bits are cheap. - Feedback. The FAQ talks about feedback, but I haven't figured out how to activate it. Feedback would be both for me (to remember the new stuff I've discovered) and for you (to build "people who liked X like Y" databases). Keep up the good work!
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  4. Jim Walsh
    July 28, 2005 at 6:49am
    For this charter member of the Baby Boom generation, the opportunity to learn of younger musicians who still work in familiar genres is very appealing--and addictive! Playlist direction seems determined by the first selection presented from chosen artist. I was amused by hearing first-up Van Morrision's "Motherless Child" followed by something by the Backstreet Boys. The link to Amazon can provide background information about artists, and browser history keeps track of subjects of interest. So if I'm working at the keyboard, I can record my explorations outside your application; if not, I have to stop what I'm doing and check the screen. I agree with Mr. Brian Goetz, that a history feature within Pandora would facilitate both my appreciation and possible purchase of particular tracks and/or albums. Some excellent features: >display of album covers while tracks play >finetuning through Guide Us >sound quality Thanks for the tunes!
    Reply
  5. Bur Davis
    July 28, 2005 at 7:53am
    22:35 7/27/2005 [to Craig Sterry]: I showed it to Keala. She chose Cat Stevens. Two songs into it, Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle came up, she said, 'this is what I meant to ask for'. Then she asked, 'can you add Joan Baez? that would be my absolute favorite combination.' Which we did. We are both *digging* this a lot. I love how it introduces me to artists I've never heard of, or never heard, and I *like* the music it's chosen (of course, since I chose it to begin with, in a way). I've already bought an album based on one of the songs it chose (Ben Harper, in the Cat Stevens/Joan Baez channel we set up). I am bummed I can't at least view the songs in the playlist it's already played (for example, wanted to look up the name of the Ben Harper song mentioned above). Mucho kudos to you guys. 22:41, 7/27/2005: make that 2 records: Birele Lagrene & Gipsy Project, 'Move', played on the Dan & Django station. 07:48, 7/28/2005: My brother is a 2-item pizza kind of guy. He can't stand it when I want to add more ingredients. I am beginning to understand what he means: choosing only two artists returns such a rich yet varied palette, I'm not sure I want to venture adding a third. I realize all this depends on the richness of attributes captured for each track by your staff. Keep those folks happy, lookin' good so far. 07:52, 7/28/2005: Hey! Israel Kamakawiwa'ole, man! You godda have im! Doan chew got enny Hawaiian listeners, bra? Bur.
    Reply
  6. Elizabeth Moller
    July 28, 2005 at 9:11am
    Hey Tom - good work. I just went to the Mark Knopfler concert at the Winery last night, so I'm going to find some music like that.
    Reply
  7. Gary Poster
    July 28, 2005 at 2:52pm
    I like this a lot! Congratulations. Some suggestions and notes: A few songs seem to be recorded badly; for instance, The Cowboy Lives Forever (The Whites) seems to be cut short. Others (sorry, didn't write down names of the two songs) have hiccups that I originally attributed to network trouble, but then changed my mind when the next song was fine. Songs repeat much too frequently. This is the only thing so far that might make me not use it. Maybe this is because I've used a single channel with a number of suggested bands/artists?) It would be nice to have a date control ("On this channel I prefer songs that are more contemporary" or something) and a suggestion control ("On this channel, please give me more suggestions") that plays songs on the basis of the starting bands and songs I gave you, but *less songs by the actual bands*. Gary
    Reply
  8. Brian Goetz
    July 28, 2005 at 8:29pm
    Technical suggestion: volume normalization. I find myself having to adjust the volume frequently, which can (in the typical case) be easily adjusted by normalizing the dynamic range of the tracks. Already have three new albums in my Amazon shopping cart.
    Reply
  9. SVarnadore
    July 29, 2005 at 2:41pm
    Love it Love it LOVE IT! Within the first half hour it played songs I'd never heard by two artists I love, then three songs by artists I've never heard of, but I now like! I spent half my time grinning like a maniac and half trying to put on my Serious-Work-Face so I don't get in trouble. Easy to use too. I set up 5 different 'stations' in the first couple hours. One for when I'm energetic, one for when I WISH I was, one for when I'm in my normal mood, one for when I MUST concentrate on what I'm doing and one for "hey, I wonder what will play?" I've dubbed it "MY Internet Radio Without Commercials" and I found my desire to hear what would come next to be nearly addictive! When I tell it that I like a song that's playing, it says "Cool, glad you liked it!" if I tell it I DON'T like a song, it apologizes and promises to never play that song on that particular station. Ya gotta love that! (OOoo.. it just pulled up a Tori Amos I've never heard.. apparently Pandora's picked up on how much I love her piano work.) The coolest thing is clicking the "Why is this song playing?" button. I know SOME of the reasons I like certain songs and don't like others, but with a lot of them I just shrug and say "I dunno.. I just do." THIS software can TELL me and in words I can understand! Apparently I like Rhythm Piano, and (get this) "Breathy Female Lead Vocalists." Rhythm Piano? Yup, that's me. "Breathy Female Lead Vocalists???" That made me fall out of my chair laughing because I would NEVER have thought to put it that way! My CD collection IS full of female leads, so I'm guessing Pandora is onto something there. At this rate, they'll be able to tell me why I love Enya, but don't like Loreena McKennitt (well.. except Mummer's Dance) or why the Grateful Dead leaves me cold. Hmm.. I wonder if they have a setting for "I'm a sucker for love songs, so hit me with what you've got." I agree w/ an earlier comment about volume normalization but since every player I've ever tried has the same trouble, it's not a big deal. So, my final thought on my first day: I now have a reason to upgrade from my 200mHz Pentium running Windows 95 and using Dial-up. I know people who will go into shock when I do, but this is music I can LISTEN to! I have the feeling that I'm going to have to come to work this weekend. :-) Thanks for the invite to preview, I'm loving what I hear!
    Reply
  10. SVarnadore
    July 30, 2005 at 9:28am
    Day 2 with Pandora "Pandora & a T-1 Pipe: Making Work as Fun As Play" I've been setting up my "Jammin" station. It's for stuff I listen to when I'm in the mood to bounce off the walls, so I have things like Van Halen's "Panama" and Pink Floyd's "Dogs of War" added to help guide Pandora. I was happily bouncing and leaving footprints on the ceiling when I heard Donna Lewis' waif-like voice singing "I Love You Always Forever." [insert the sound of tires screeching to a halt on hot pavement here] Complete halt to bouncing.... WHAT am I hearing??? I LOVE this song, sure, and it's on my "Sappy Love Songs" station, but in my JAMMIN' station???? WHAT is THAT about??? Well, I've been happy with Pandora so far and really should give her selections a chance. So I sat and listened for a minute, and I can tell you what gives. That song is my first "Unexpected Crossover," that's what gives. I listened and it's got the strong, steady rhythm, a relatively quick beat, and a good chunk of synth-based production added. The fact that it's a sappy love song didn't EXCLUDE it from bein' a bouncy tune. Pandora got what I hadn't realized and so suggested it as a fitting part of my Jammin station. Coooooolllllll......... As I've been working I've been observing Pandora experiment with my varied inputs on my Jammin' Station. Songs I've added as influences include: Enya's "Tempus Vernum" Ramstein's "Du Hast" Donna Lewis' "I Love You Always Forever" ('Added' by clicking the "I really like this song" button) Van Halen's "Panama" Gwen Stephani's "Hollaback Girl" I'm not just having a great time listening to Pandora's selections, but I'm also beginning to hear and appreciate those qualities that Pandora used in selecting each song. Actually, that's currently my favorite part of Pandora: I'm listening to the SAME songs I've listened to for years, but now I'm actually hearing MORE music in them! I'm gaining a more in-depth appreciation of the music. Pandora's "Why is this song playing" button is broadening my appreciation of the music I love while introducing me to music I might otherwise have never heard. Let's see......... I have advanced software looking at my choices in ways I never considered, it's making highly accurate suggestions based on my choices, it's happy to tell me WHY each selection was made, I'm gaining a deeper appreciation for the music, AND I retain complete control over the selection with the "I like" and "I don't like" buttons. Double-Coooooollllll......... (A term that doesn't BEGIN to describe my feeling on Pandora right now) Note To Self: When a song I've actually added to the list plays, press the "Why is this song playing?" button and see if Pandora says "Cuz YOU put it on the list, REMEMBER????" :-)
    Reply

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