Two comments we get now and again here at Pandora headquarters are these:
1. My station is too boring; it doesn’t play enough variety
2. My station is too varied; it plays too many different styles
I am here to tell you that these issues are fairly easy to remedy.
1. For more variety on your stations, add more music!
Click on either ‘Guide Us’ [for the station you’re currently listening to] or on the triangle next to the station name in the left-hand menu [for any station, any time] and choose to ‘Add more music.’
2. For more tightly controlled stations that don’t stray too much, don’t add too many artists, songs, or thumbs ups; every time you add more music your station reaches out in another direction. Me, I like that. You, you may not.
Personally, I’ve got both kinds of stations. Some are vanilla and some are seasoned beyond recognition. The “purer” stations have hardly any station seeds and only a few, if any, thumbs ups. On these “pure” stations I hear some of the same songs repeated over a few days of listening, and I get a more controlled station that actually sticks to a specific style of music. My wildest station, and my favorite, Radio Lucia, has maybe sixty seeds and oodles of individual thumb opinions. It represents decades of musical styles, and many many hours of listening and tinkering on my part. I get lots of surprises. I rarely hear the same song twice, even with weeks of listening.


Adding more music to your station is powerful. You can send your station off in a completely different direction with just a few new songs or artists. Remember, you’re not just saying: I like this song/artist so please play this more often. You’re also saying: play more songs in this style.
As it turns out, you may or may not want to hear more of that style. Maybe you like that artist because it reminds you of skipping classes in high school. (Def Leppard, in my case) Maybe your Dad used to play the artist’s records non-stop while you were growing up. (Oscar Peterson) Maybe their songs remind you of road trips with friends. (Holly Cole) Perhaps someone once sang the song to you as a lullaby? (‘Dear Prudence’ by The Beatles)
There’s all kinds of nostalgic and unique reasons for liking a song or an artist…but that may not mean that you want a whole slew of that style of music to play on your beloved and carefully crafted station! I get teased by our engineers for having such a trigger finger with feedback on my stations. I’m learning to sit still and not compulsively give my opinions to Pandora. I sit on my hands.
But remember, you can always change your station feedback and definition. Review and/or edit your station by going to the ‘Edit this station’ option for any station you built. (again, under the triangle next to your station name in the left menu) From there you can review the artists/songs you’ve added to the station as seeds and review the songs you marked as ‘liked’ and ‘disliked’. Clicking ‘remove’ next to one of these will set the feedback for it back to neutral.
You can also scroll back to rate past songs at any time, even after they’re done playing (as long as you haven’t closed the window yet). If you can still see them, you can still rate them.
Happy tuning!
cheers, Lucia
written while listening to:
Dave Brubeck Radio
(one of my few completely “pure” stations…this one requires no tinkering…just let it play.)

Comments

  1. Richard Cooper
    May 18, 2006 at 11:16am
    I'm sorry, I should have noticed that what I wrote was somewhat confrontational and edited it before I posted it, but I was in serious need of sleep. I guess I should have just waited until today to reply. Continuing... I know is that I've heard "Mirage" by Meat Puppets (to name just one song) countless times on many stations, but I can't hear even the slightest similarity between that song and any other song that I like. I frequently try to create stations and only give feedback for the songs that I most like and dislike, as I learned early on that less feedback is better, but eventually I tire of hearing songs like Mirage and so I being thumbing them down when they play and after a dozen or so the song selection stops playing any songs that I like. So I try thumbing up some other songs that I do like, but then the station goes off in other directions I don't want it to. In particular, thumbing up anything with punk influences brings in songs with a lot more punk than a mere influence, but I really don't like punk unless it has disco influences or danceable grooves or something of that sort as well. Anything I say I like will make Pandora play stuff that I don't like, and anything I say I don't like will make Pandora stop playing stuff that I do like. So any feedback at all just worsens song selection. I don't know if you all have time to figure out why it isn't working for me, but if you're going to, there's another station on which I've thumbed up nearly every song I've ever heard Pandora play that I've liked: http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh24024413 There's also a list of my favorite songs along with some text about why I like each of them on my web site.
    Reply
  2. Kevin
    May 18, 2006 at 1:57pm
    How exactly does pandora work? Is that a trade secret or something? I've been wondering this for quite awhile. Does pandora just add and subtract attributes when you thumbs up and thumbs down a song or is there a more complicated alogrtihim envoloved? I know that all pandora songs are just mp3 files that pandora downloads as your lessning to a song (a nice feature for slow connnections :) ). Thank You pandora staff.
    Reply
  3. Larry-bob
    May 18, 2006 at 2:09pm
    Maybe the "zzz" thing would work better for Mirage, then you won't be vetoing other similar songs, just that particular one. What think the Pandora gurus?
    Reply
  4. JT
    May 18, 2006 at 2:16pm
    Is anyone else having problems connecting to Pandora? I've had problems both today and yesterday. www.pandora.com has been unreachable for hours.
    Reply
  5. TehOne
    May 18, 2006 at 2:23pm
    Sometimes, I click thumbs up and realise that I want to go back and undo the thumbs up because I don't like the new direction of the station. Now, let's say that the station isn't new, and I've got a bunch of 'thumbs up' songs. Let's say I forget the name of the song and when I exactly thumbed it up, I can't really remove the song right off. A preview of the song would be nice.
    Reply
  6. Larry-bob
    May 18, 2006 at 3:11pm
    I think I know what you mean, TehOne... maybe if on the "songs you liked" and "songs you didn't like" tabs of "edit station" if it had a hyperlink to the song and artist, like the one that's available on the name of a recently played or currently playing song.
    Reply
  7. Lucia @ Pandora
    May 18, 2006 at 3:22pm
    Hi peeps, Lucia again. Some of you I've emailed individually, but here's a few more answers: - Yes, the (patented!) workings of the Genome and the playlist generator are trade secrets. :) But we do hope to give you more control over your playlists in the future. (ie WHY don't you like this song...) - Yes, putting a song to sleep for a month (under Guide Us) is a nice alternative that won't affect your station in any other way. - No, we aren't aware of any Pandora Performance Problems today. - Nice idea, on the song clips-while-editing idea. For now, you can only hear song clips from the favorites page and from the song info pages. cheers! Lucia
    Reply
  8. Liliana
    May 18, 2006 at 3:24pm
    re: repeats I noticed that when I created stations with specific songs in mind, I had lots of great variety and few "repeats" and when I created stations with an artist in mind, I did get a few of their tracks from their other releases but still haven't had enough "repeats" to be such an issue on any of the stations I have created. So far it works wonderfully for me. I vary up my searches too, so that I get more variety overall. I do plan on submitting my entire music roster to Pandora when I get all the recordings from my artists together. You are all doing a great job, I love this thing!!
    Reply
  9. JJZ
    May 18, 2006 at 3:58pm
    Okay, so I complained about repeats earlier in the thread and this morning I made a mega-station of sorts, with most of my selections in there, and it's been more to my liking, in that I didn't feel compelled to switch around or to another medium because it was playing too much of the same sort of thing. That being said, I'd still love to just play anything with "Busy Horn Section" without having to try to train it to do it. Or maybe a seed with everything and exclude my way down to what I want. Mostly because it'd be fun. I'd also enjoy a "least popular" theme, but that's the kind of person I am.
    Reply
  10. Kurt
    May 18, 2006 at 7:04pm
    Thx for the advice. Here's some advice for the admins: There's a question in the FAQ that is similar to this topic: "How do I tune my Pandora stations? What happens when I give a thumbs up/down? How do I control the variety of music that plays on my station?" I think the answer to this should be more easily accessible from the main page. A lot of newbies might give up on Pandora because this info is buried in the FAQ and the blog. Teach a man to fish...
    Reply

Reply to jay Cancel Reply

Please complete all required fields.
Required fields marked with *. No worries, your email address will not be published.
Leave a reply