Saturday, February 12, 2011


I think it's amazing what's happening around us technically. From the way we get our news, entertainment and communicate with each other is radically different from how our parents did only a few short decades ago. I mean, what would Hosni Mobarak be doing right now without FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube? 

Which brings me to my fourth tech-love: PANDORA. This iPhone App has changed the way I listen to music. Depending on my mood, and I have mood swings, I chose a channel on the list and off it goes. You can select a genre or an artist. If I hit the Ozzy Station, I'm sure to hear him as well as bands he was in as well as those who sound like him like Preist, Metalica and Deep Purple. If I want to chill out, I select Portishead and enjoy tracks from Massive Attack, Morcheeba and Pink Martini. Who knew?
Think about traditional radio. It's their job to introduce you to new music while convincing you that you like what they're playing. It’s natural. That’s what they have to do to stay in business. The pop music world is about convincing people that’s how you belong, that’s how you are cool. People are insecure about their musical taste because of the music industry. The broadcast world is essentially a one-playlist world. Radio can run only one playlist at a time.
 The reason I bring this up in a Blog post today is because Pandora is about to go IPO. The company co-founded by Tim Westergren  and Joe Kennedy, has stopped losing money and about to turn dollar #1. Those of us who enjoy the online program appreciate the significance of such a threshold. How will the medium change? Will we be singled out for more focused advertising? Would any of that matter to any of us who'd like to continue our musical isolationism?

So what's so special about Pandora? The Music Genome Project. That's it. As you play one of your "stations", you give a thumbs up or down on the choices Pandora thinks you'd like. It "learns" what you like as you participate. 
I have a Genesis station on my iPhone list. If they or something close to it ever played on my Ozzy station, I would hit the thumbs down symbol. Same goes for Ozzy showing up on the Genesis station. in either instance, that song would never play on that particular station again. Not that I would expect either example to occur. The Genome Project already deters such an occurrence by default. But it's fun to imagine.

According to a quote from WikiPedia: The Music Genome is a collection of the most basic attributes that collectively define a song. Without the right word choice for describing the parts of a song our business wouldn’t have worked. We try to break down every dimension of a song to its most basic building blocks—like melody, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, vocal performance. Vocal performance gets probably 30 attributes. Tom Waits is a gravelly baritone, with almost no bravado. BeyoncĂ©, she’s an alto with bravado galore.

According to The Internet radio service filed for an IPO it hopes will raise $100 million and give it the chance to turn a profit for the first time. Though some 80 million listeners tune in, Pandora is largely free; it lost $16.8 million for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2010, but only $300,000 from that period through Oct. 31, 2010. It coughs up 60% of its revenues to pay performance royalties.

Anyone within my readership looking for something fresh to invest in, might want to have a good look at PANDORA. I'm just sayin.


Anonymous said...

I love your Mobarak line at the top. Today's technology is tough enough to keep up with as a current user, never mind those who cling to 15th century philosophies. My parents told me to take computer classes in college back when they were teaching DOS. Try to explain DOS to the sixth grader who just mastered the latest interactive war game.

The rate of tech advancement in the last decade compared to the century before makes me apprehensive about what discoveries are right around the corner. Your love of Pandora today may lead to something astonishing tomorrow.

Lou said...

"I Love Pandora Radio"

Yes, I enjoy it very much also. It is great to travel with and listen to on my smartphone. I have been listening to Pandora for about 2ys I guess.

One of the many things I like is the thumbs up and down option.