[UPDATE: In addition to Pandora’s Music Analysts mentioned below, click here for the second, third, fourth and fifth Analyst spotlights in this series.]
Hello again, Lucia here. I thought I’d pay homage to my brothers and sisters who analyze all of the music you hear on Pandora. Most of you already know that Pandora employs a big team of Music Analysts. They have listened to every single song you hear on your stations. They listen in order to catalog the musicological analysis required for Pandora’s song-matching.
Our Analysts deconstruct songs looking for hundreds of different traits, covering things like vocals, rhythm, instrumentation, harmony, melody, sound production and lyrics. Remember, the Music Genome never generalizes about artists’ repertoires; each song is considered individually. While you’re listening to Pandora you can read about a couple of the basic ‘genes’ we’ve attached to any given song by clicking on ‘why is this song playing?’
analysts.jpg
Our Analysts sit in our office with headphones on all day, listening to songs, researching songs, and categorizing the musicological make-up of these songs. This is the Music Genome Project. This is the information that drives your station matches. After the analysis is done, it’s up to Pandora’s patented playlist generator to pick songs for your stations.


All of these musicians have to take a music theory test before they are employed here at Pandora, after which they are trained in the different ‘genomes’ that drive the Music Genome Project. Most of them also play gigs around the San Francisco area in addition to being composers, music teachers, directors of musicals, sound engineers, etc. Many of our employees show up on your Pandora stations, and I thought you might like to know who they are! Over the next few weeks I will showcase some of the Pandora stations on which you can hear some of our staff.
Here’s the first installment:
Jeffrey Burr (above, with the beard) plays mellifluous, lyrical jazz guitar. He’s so good that around the office we feel lucky just to hear him warm up!
Scott Rosenberg has saxophone-and-bass avant-garde music under his own name in Pandora, as well as the loose intense rock of P.A.F. whose CD release party is at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco this Saturday!
Danny Eisenberg (above, in the green shirt) plays keyboards on the Tift Merrit live album, which has kind of a southern soul sound. He can also be heard with Stolen Bibles, which mixes funk and soul with bluesy gospel influences, and which Danny describes, simply, as “bad-ass.”
Kevin Seal, who was one of our representatives at SXSW this year, is the vocalist and keyboardist for the melodic psychedelia group Griddle, one of my personal favorites. He can also be heard in Colonel Knowledge, which is organic, lyric-driven light pop. And he plays tenor sax on a Reggae Angels album as well!

If you’d like to hear more about the Music Genome Project in general terms, there is a great Inside The Net podcast from a few months ago on which you can hear our founder Tim Westergren discussing some of the ins and outs of how Pandora works.
Tim on Inside The Net
Or if reading is more your thing, here’s a thorough article on us that was printed last fall. It’s some of our earlier press, but it’s still my favorite article because it describes what it’s like to analyze a song, Pandora-style:
Pandora’s Box: Can a company’s musicological data mining breathe new life into the music industry?
cheers, Lucia
Written while listening to Anouman Radio. It’s not only our Music Analysts who can be found inside Pandora. Vic Wong, our Esteemed Tech Support/QA Engineer, plays guitar for gypsy jazz group Anouman (Pandora describes Vic’s solo as virtuosic…), as well as for The Soul Captives, an r&b reggae mix. Very different styles, both great!

Comments

  1. noodle
    July 28, 2006 at 12:59am
    you're amyzign!!! (:
  2. Josie
    July 28, 2006 at 8:28am
    Hi, I joined Pandora in June. And I think that's the best thing that could have ever happened. I love listening to soulful and good country music but never had the chance to listen to all of them. Pandora has been so helpful in aiding this cause. I fell inlove with it the day I began using it. I have so far enjoyes La Bamba, Country music mainly by John Denver, Garfunkel. My favoorite is Annie's song nd Jennifer Juniper. However, I have heard Annie's song just once and i am longing to listen to it for a very long time. Disappointed about that too. Anyways, I think that the job of a music analyst seems very interesting although it has it's own difficult points. I want to know more about being a music analyst or a musicologist. ;-) Thanks Lucia and the entire team. Appreciate this a lot.
  3. anais
    July 29, 2006 at 5:16am
    nice job! with all due respect, a comment: of course Sabines is not related to Bisbal! They both are excellent -different styles, different generations .... To me, Sabina is better composer than singer, (I like his songs, not his voice); on the other hand, Bisbal is a remarkable singer and performer, that is why people love him so much. I like Sabines, of course but I do love Bisbal!
  4. florencedtj
    July 29, 2006 at 8:28am
    this is the place to be if you want to discover music!
  5. Sarah
    July 29, 2006 at 9:06pm
    I've been having a fun time listening to the stations I have created on this website, but I haven't been able to make one for Movie/Broadway tunes (I don't care which artists they come from, just as long as they were once played in a movie or a musical). I would also like to be able to search by composer, since it would make it easier to find some types of movie music, such as that done by John Williams. I would also like to hear marching band and drumcore music. There seems to be almost no songs for this.
  6. Bill Shoss
    August 01, 2006 at 8:09pm
    I like alot of what you do, but when it comes to Dixieland - one of my favorite kinds of music - I can't understand how you rationalize all the stuff you put in that category that bears no resemblance of traditional dixieland music.
  7. jeff lourie
    August 03, 2006 at 11:20pm
    I had to put thumbs down on many songs by some of my favorite artists because they were Christmas songs. Also, I have a station I named ''Female Vocalists''. After rejecting more than twenty very good songs by very good male vocalists, you still don't get the idea. Is it possible for you to fine-tune the system to deal with such matters?
  8. Olavo
    August 07, 2006 at 8:51am
    Hi guys, just wanted to tell you that you�re doing a great job, and off course, I listen to you all day...thanks from Paraguay...
  9. Candy
    November 30, 2006 at 12:52am
    There are many nice Japanese songs by Utada Hikaru and she is quite famous in Asia. I hope that you are able to make her music more accessible in Pandora. All the best~!

Comments are closed.