In November last year Pandora was officially released into New Zealand (although it had been used unofficially well before then), bringing some unique algorithms to the Antipodes.
Powered by a catalogue of music analysis called the Genome Project, Pandora's recommendation system feeds you songs based not on genres but rather on similarities between songs from a musicological perspective. This removes the bias given to popular songs, and makes it more likely for passive listeners to hear music that would normally fall under their radar.
Pandora founder Tim Westergren told Stoppress earlier this year that one of the main problems with traditional radio channels is that they have historically been very restricted in what they play, meaning that young, talented artists don't necessarily get the exposure they need to forge careers in the industry. He says that one of the strongest elements about his online service is that its agnostic approach to music recommendation gives playing time not only of well-known artists but also to artists that the listener might not be aware of.
"Our target is really the casual listener: the person who wants to listen to music while doing something else,” says Westergren. “This is really the way most people spend their time. Something like 80 percent of the time people spend listening to music is spent listening to radio. Only a small portion is loading in CDs or building a custom playlist. That's a smaller part of the average person's appetite. We're really the place that you want to go to, if you just want to hit a button and have the music come out."
But not everything Pandora Internet Radio does to suggest music to its listeners is automated. In fact, every single song in its library is specifically coded by real life human beings with approximately 450 different attributes, from tempo to the genre of lyrics.
Pandora Internet Radio’s head music analyst Steve Hogan will be in Auckland next Monday for a free, intimate, one off session as he describes the inner workings of the Music Genome Project and why humans will always understand music better than machines.
The session will delve inside the heartbeat of Pandora Internet Radio, The Music Genome and explain the process of how tracks are selected and analysed to ensure that the personalised radio experience is second to none.
Steve will also demonstrate live how a song is analysed with help from the floor and answer questions from the audience on how this process was developed.
Tickets to this one-off event are free and available here
When: Monday 8th September
Where: Sir Paul Reeves Building, AUT, Auckland.