Pandora (music service)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Screenshot of the new Pandora homepage.
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Internet radio
Registration Optional
Owner Pandora Media, Inc.
Created by The Music Genome Project

Pandora is an automated music recommendation and Internet radio service created by the Music Genome Project. Users enter a song or artist that they enjoy, and the service responds by playing selections that are musically similar. Users provide feedback on approval or disapproval of individual songs, which Pandora takes into account for future selections.

While listening, users are offered the ability to buy the songs or albums at Amazon MP3, (for CDs), or the iTunes Store. Over 400 different musical attributes (see List of Music Genome Project attributes) are considered when selecting the next song. These 400 attributes are combined into larger groups called focus traits. There are 2,000 focus traits. Examples of these are rhythm syncopation, key tonality, vocal harmonies and displayed instrumental proficiency.

The Pandora media player is based on OpenLaszlo. Pandora can also be accessed through many stand-alone players such as Frontier Silicon-based connected audio systems, Slim Devices and Sonos[1] product(s). On July 11, 2008, Pandora launched a mobile version of their software available on the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch through the iTunes App Store. As of December 3, 2008, Pandora has confirmed two million iPhone users have downloaded and installed its application.[2] MSN Radio used Pandora up until June 18, 2008, which was launched two years before.[3]

The service has two subscription plans: a free subscription supported by advertisements and a fee-based subscription without ads. There are also advertisements in "Pandora Mobile" for mobile phones and the "Pandora in The Home" computer appliance. In 2007, the service introduced "Pandora Classical",[4] incorporating classical music from the baroque period to the contemporary period into its Music Genome Project.


[edit] Copyright developments in 2007 and thereafter

In 2007, a federal panel agreed with a SoundExchange request and ordered a doubling of the per-song performance royalty that Web radio stations pay to performers and record companies. Under this scheme, internet radio would pay double the royalty as satellite radio.

Because of recent Copyright Royalty Board rulings that increase fees and ask for licensing guarantees, the Pandora service is no longer available in countries other than the United States.[5][6] These rulings affect all USA based Internet-based radio stations (terrestrial radio is not affected).

An email was sent out to all non-US listeners explaining that non-US IP addresses would be barred from that moment on.

As of July 2008, Pandora is in talks with major music labels regarding royalty issues to allow a return to the European market. Costs remain a concern because of European royalty standards and a low level of demand for paid music services.[7]

In 2008, the founder of Pandora stated that the company may be on the verge of collapse. [8]

As of September 30, 2008 a bill was passed by the US House and Senate to allow sites like Pandora to continue negotiations with SoundExchange into 2009.

[edit] Using and tuning

Choosing one artist results in all that artist's catalogued styles being used as a starting point, which may include those which may not be considered representative. Selecting representative tracks by the artist may give results closer to what was intended.

Each track played can be responded to in four ways:

  • Thumbs up - Play more like this.
  • No response - No change in preference.
  • Thumbs down - Do not play this track again, play fewer that are similar. Also skips if any skips are left.
    • A second negative response to the same artist will ban that artist from the selected playlist unless that artist or at least one of their songs has been manually added to the playlist or has received at least one positive vote.
  • In addition, a menu is provided with the choices: Don't play this song for a month, Why was this song selected?, Move song to another station, Bookmark, and Buy.
  • There is a setting in each member's account regarding whether the user wants songs with explicit lyrics played. This, however, does not apply exclusively to albums with the parental advisory label, as other songs with censored versions will have that version played. An example is Jet Airliner by the Steve Miller Band, which had one word censored for radio play. With explicit lyrics off, that version will play, despite the album itself not having a PA label.

[edit] Limitations

The content licensing imposes a number of restrictions:

  • Pandora is currently only licensed to provide music to users in the United States. Initially this was enforced by requiring a US ZIP code at registration but since May 3, 2007 Pandora has checked the users' IP address.
  • Rewind or repeat is not possible.
  • Only six skips per hour are allowed, including those resulting from a thumbs down response. Previously, if at least two music stations had been created, switching from the current playing station to a different one and back allowed skipping past the built-in limitation. However, this has been changed so that when the user switches back, the station will still be playing the same song. However, one can still change the song through refreshing the player (provided it is not in mini mode, though some web browsers such as Firefox will provide a URL bar which can be used for refreshing the player, and hitting the F5 key will refresh in almost any browser). Additionally, the songs continue playing regardless of whether the station is being listened to. If one waits long enough before returning to that station, the song will have played entirely and will move to the next song. Putting a song on the "don't play this for a month" list skips the song regardless of how many are left, but (as the feature implies) the song will not play for 30 days.
  • Play of a single artist is limited. Pandora provides similar music, not a play-on-demand service.
    • However, a user may sample songs from the respective artist's page.
    • Additionally, only four songs by the same artist will be played within each three-hour period.
  • Full-screen flash ads. The mini player has no ads. Occasional commercial interruptions. Ads can be removed entirely through the paid service.
  • Such things as genre stations and about the song cannot be accessed from the mini player.
  • Pocket PCs using Flash 7 for Windows Mobile cannot use the Pandora tuner.
  • Users are unable to rate genres or albums, nor are they able to ban them. A user may "ban" an artist by giving a thumbs down to two of that artist's songs, provided the artist was not used to create the station or added to the station. Artists can be added to the station in the same way songs are.
    • There are pre-made genre stations that are editable after you rate one song.
  • The precreated stations cannot be accessed through the Vista player. Customizing a station on the Vista player requires chosing "About This Station" from the menu, and editing it in the "edit station" page (as opposed to adding artists and songs directly through the player). Information about the artist, similar artists, and similar songs (among other things) are not accessible from the Vista player.

[edit] Other features

  • Pandora Podcast, a musicology show updated every few weeks in the form of a podcast. It is hosted by Kevin Seal of the band Griddle. Each show is based around a specific music topic, and features guest musicians and Pandora experts who normally analyze the music featured on the Pandora website.[9]
  • A Facebook application developed to allow users to put their Pandora radio stations on their Facebook profiles.[10]
  • There is now a Pandora application for the iPhone which allows the user to stream music from Pandora Radio straight to their iPhone from any location.
  • Pandora is now available for streaming from the Windows Vista sidebar. There are no banner ads for this player.

[edit] Extensions

A few hacks for Pandora have been created to enhance Pandora's functionality and ease of use. For example:

  • Wrappers for the Pandora Tuner
  • OpenPandora
  • Pandora's Jar
    • Pandora's Jar also acts as a wrapper for the Pandora tuner, but includes much more functionality alongside. Pandora's Jar runs in a browser as well and provides integration into, as well as CDDB. Pandora's Jar's main attraction and feature is the ability to extract the music files you are listening to in the tuner at the time.
  • PandoraRip
    • PandoraRip, also found at the Hak5 website, is a program that will copy, tag and organize Pandora's tracks, download album art, and scrape genres from Google, by normally listening to the tracks. Its main features are tagging and adding album art to the tracks.
  • PandoraFM
    • PandoraFM allows listeners of Pandora custom radio to record their listening habits to their profiles. It also allows users to tag tracks in order to build radio stations within's interface. Within PandoraFM's interface it displays Pandora's "genome description" of the track, the biography of the artist, and links to photos, videos, groups and other stations that are relevant to what is being listened to.
  • FoxyTunes
    • FoxyTunes is a Firefox extension that displays currently playing Pandora song information on browser status-bar, along with volume controls and a button that finds and raises the Pandora player window or tab. The extension also supports the PandoraFM site and many additional media players and music services

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Personal tools