We’ve learned a lot during Pandora’s first 6 months and, candidly, one of those lessons is that purely “musical” matches don’t get it right 100% of the time. While we work hard 7 days a week to get it there, if you’ve listened to Pandora for any length of time you know that the Music Genome is not perfect. The great thing though is that when we’re wrong, you tell us with your “thumb” feedback.
So starting tonight, we’re making you part of the Music Genome Team.
We’ve just given Pandora’s playlist system a big upgrade so that now when our listeners as a group overwhelmingly tell us that a song is a terrible fit for a particular station, we listen and everyone listening to that station benefits from the feedback.
For example, since you’ve clearly told us that “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” by Whitney Houston doesn’t make sense as a match for Massive Attack, we’re not going to play that song on anyone’s “Massive Attack Radio” anymore*.
Incorporating your feedback and input in compelling ways is a major priority for us, and it won’t stop at playlist improvement. We’re cooking up lots of ways to bring your collective wisdom and knowledge to bear at Pandora in lots of interesting ways.
Welcome to the team!
CTO @ Pandora
* In reality it’s a tiny bit more subtle than that — what we actually do in a case like this is radically reduce the play frequency of “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” on the Massive Attack station. That way there’s some room for the song to come back into more frequent rotation if the listeners as a whole or individually change their mind about the song at some point in the future.


  1. chris
    November 09, 2009 at 1:22pm
    Just updated my bb storm and now pandora stops about twenty seconds shy of each song then I have to restart after I listen to the sixth song. ;(. I miss my Pandora.
  2. naraphim
    February 09, 2010 at 2:57am
    Even if Pandora faces substantial legal barriers to streaming music to listeners outside the US, this shouldn't prevent international users from accessing the music genome. I want to discover new music that I might like. I don't need Pandora to supply that music, I can listen to it on third party sites like You-tube. Your genome algorithm can be monetized by advertising in a web portal. Please just provide access to the genome.
  3. Stephen Dolle
    November 04, 2010 at 10:27pm
    The next generation application of this algorhythm would be in standardizing the affects that specific types of song strucure and sound has on the brain, mood, cognition, and behavior. There would be a multitude of applications of this methodology outside of direct music sales, for instance, in commercial advertisements, and music selection for specific activities, training, and learning. This would allow scientists to standardize and label the cause and effect of many types of music and sound structures, and lead to more targeted and considerate play of music in public places, and in TV and radio broadcasts. I am a musician, drum circle facilitator, and neuroscientists, and began to experience sensory integration disorder (SID) following a 1992 brain injury. Being attentive to, and playing different types of music and sound structures, helped me to overcome most of the affects of SID. I think as a population, we owe it to ourselves to develop a better understanding of and working relationship with music and sound. I highly encourage Pandora and others to explore how we might achieve this goal.
  4. James S Ryan
    February 24, 2011 at 10:22am
    Thank you for including your end-users in the feedback process. I’ve been happily astonished with the musical matches. Moreover, the mismatches impress me the most. It reaffirms how the imprecise can be precisely invaluable. In other words, thank you for combining deductive logic with intuition. “If it sounds good it is good.”

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