Inside the Collection: Love, Loss and Mix-Tapes

I was a teenage skater, which back in the eighties meant I didn’t meet many girls. But there was one – Brynn was what we affectionately called a “Skate-Betty.” She stood out from the others with her sun-bleached bowl-cut, hi-top Vans, a flannel tied around her waist and a warm California smile that gave me the courage to ask her out. We instantly bonded on music. She was into many of the same Skate Rock bands that I listened to like JFA and Agent Orange. But she also turned me on to stuff I’d never heard before like Voivod and Reagan Youth.

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Do you remember the first mix-tape you made for a crush? What about the opposite – a mix that you curated following a heart-bludgeoning break-up? As we approach Valentine’s Day, it’s easy for me to flashback to the very first amorous mix that I recorded…and my first break-up tape. Allow me to share a few of the lessons that I learned from building those mixes.

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Introducing Pandora’s Open Music Submission Process: Getting Your Music Heard

curation picAt Pandora, our central mission is connecting artists with listeners who will love their music. Our goal is to enable every talented artist to reach the audience they deserve, without regard to the style of their music or their popularity.

When it comes to access and promotion, enormous hurdles have always confronted musicians and comedians, especially independent or self-releasing artists, in getting an equal opportunity to be heard. This is why I’m thrilled to introduce our new open music submission process. Read More →

Inside Song: Taking Off The Blindfold

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 2.32.45 PMOne 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 →

Inside The Collection: Songs Of Change

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.

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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.

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Discover More Music with Personalized Station Recommendations

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 →