A fun fact that not every Pandora fan might know is that every song on Pandora is listened to and analyzed by an actual human being. We have a department of some 25 Musical Analysts whose job it is to continually enrich and expand Pandora’s catalog of music and comedy. These individuals, all of whom are trained and accomplished musicians themselves, manually analyze each track across up to 450 individual musical attributes.
These attributes cover every detail of melody, harmony, rhythm, form, instrumentation, and vocal performance – representing the musical “DNA” of a track and creating the fundamental data set that drives the Music Genome Project. The process can take anywhere from 15 minutes for a simple 3-minute pop song, to over an hour for a symphonic piece. We think these talented Music Analysts deserve a little extra Pandora love, so we are starting a new blog series to spotlight them on a monthly basis.
The first Analyst Spotlight is an eight-year Pandora veteran who recently analyzed Pandora’s 1 millionth song, a track called “If We Live” by Walk The Sun, which appears on the “Occupy This Album”. With his musical expertise in piano and organ, Bay Area-native Danny Eisenberg has toured internationally and contributed to several bands over the years, including The Mother Hips, Counting Crows, Shelby Lynne, Penelope Houston, Tift Merritt, Jonathan Richman, and Girls. When asked about analyzing the 1 millionth song Danny said, “It’s a fun thing to say, but honestly we all analyze a lot of songs here. It was just the luck of the draw.”
As you can imagine, Danny is full of interesting stories. Here are a few tidbits from our conversation with him last week:
How did you get into music?
My earliest memory of playing music was when I was little, banging on pots and pans with my brother and sister. I later transitioned to the piano…which is still my instrument of choice…that and the Hammond organ.
What is your favorite tour story?
I spent some time on the road as Ryan Adams‘ keyboard player. While touring with Ryan Adams, we opened for the Rolling Stones. After one of our sets, we were walking off the stage and the head of security for the Stones, who looked exactly like Alfred Hitchcock, said in a thick British accent, “Congratulations gentlemen…you just opened for the Rolling Stones!” That was just a really cool moment.
What is the last thing you ate?
Breakfast, provided by Pandora. I had an Illy double cappuccino, green tea, blueberries, nectarines, strawberries and non-fat Greek yogurt with almonds and honey. My team is having an “Iggy Pop abs contest” so I’m still trying to work on my portion control.
Does being a music analyst affect how you listen to music?
I listen to music when I get up and when I get home, but analyzing is a muscle. It’s like working out when you’re tired – it takes effort.
What do you listen to on a bad day to cheer you up?
How has Pandora changed since you first started in 2004?
Pandora has definitely grown a lot since I started, but now what’s really cool is that I feel like I’m making a difference in people’s lives. Just the other day, a woman who works at the grocery store I go to was gushing to me about how much she loves Pandora. It felt really good.
Danny is a musician’s musician and when he’s not analyzing songs for Pandora he’s gigging and recording with talented pop, country and rock n’ roll performers. Stay tuned to learn more about Pandora’s Music Analysts.