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|File:Pandora (music service).png|
Screenshot of the Pandora homepage.
|Type of site||Internet radio (restricted to the US)|
|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 various online retailers. Over 400 different musical 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 product(s). On July 11, 2008, Pandora launched a mobile version of their software for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch through the iTunes App Store. Pandora is also available for Android phones (such as the T-Mobile G1), BlackBerry platforms, WebOS (used on the Palm Pre), and Windows Mobile devices. MSN Radio used Pandora up until June 18, 2008, which was launched two years prior.
The service has two subscription plans: a free subscription supported by advertisements, and a fee-based subscription without ads. A free account user may reach the streaming limit of 40 hours per month, and continue unlimited streaming by paying $0.99. There are also advertisements in "Pandora Mobile" for mobile phones and the "Pandora in The Home" computer appliance.
 Using and tuning
A station is set by specifying an artist or song, or a combination of multiple items of any kind in a single station. Listeners can tune into pre-made genre stations and other users' stations.
Each track played can be responded to with favorable (thumbs up) or unfavorable (thumbs down) buttons, which determine if it should be played, and how much should similarly classified songs be played in the station. A second negative response to the same artist will ban that artist from the selected station unless the user has marked the artist positively on another occasion. No response is applicable to musical attributes or to albums.
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. From there, listeners can click on links to buy the song from iTunes or Amazon.
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.
The site explains that some of these limitations are set by Pandora's licensor. Some of these limits can be avoided by creating a second account. Pandora serves users in the United States. Initially this was enforced lightly, by requiring a US ZIP code at registration but since May 3, 2007, Pandora has blocked foreign IP addresses. The Vista sidebar gadget does not affect the listening limit. Rewind or repeat is not possible. Until May 2009, six skips per station were allowed per hour (up to 72 skips every 24 hours), giving a "thumbs down" response, or a "don't play for a month" response count as "skips." On May 21, 2009, the skip limit was altered such that it counts total skips from all stations with the limitation of twelve total skips every 24 hours (an average of one skip every two hours). If a listener gives a song a thumbs-down or "don't play for a month" after the limit has been exceeded, the song will continue to play - afterwards, it will be subject to the listener's restrictions. This limit was not applied to the Vista gadget. Originally, this was determined per account, but has since been determined per IP address. Play of a single artist is limited. Pandora provides similar music, not a play-on-demand service. As of 2009, the mini player is only available with Pandora's subscription service. Free accounts include advertising. These include simple interruptions, with the ad listed on the stream; advertising skins, which do not interrupt the stream; and Java popup ads. The skins can be blocked with such software as Ad Block Plus. However, using such software as NoScript to block the popups will block the player itself. For the Vista player, however, the only ad is a small banner for Netflix, with no interruptions whatsoever.
 Mobile Devices
- Pandora has launched mobile applications that enable users to stream their Pandora Stations to their iPhone or iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile, and Palm Pre devices using either their cell phone provider's network or WiFi. It has the same basic functionality as the Pandora service online. There are no interruptions, and the only ads are a semi-transparent popup window with text ads.
- The Pandora Mobile for Blackberry application is limited to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile US carriers, but visiting the Pandora website directly from other providers' Blackberry phones has allowed successful download of the fully-operational application. Likewise, the Windows Mobile client is limited to a select number of handsets.
 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.
- A Facebook application developed to allow users to put their Pandora radio stations on their Facebook profiles.
- Pandora released a sidebar gadget for Windows Vista. This gadget is compatible with Windows 7.
 Royalty developments since 2007
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. These rulings affect all USA based Internet-based radio stations (terrestrial radio is not affected).
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 demand for paid music services.
In 2008, the founder of Pandora stated that the company may be on the verge of collapse.
On 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.
On July 7, 2009, Pandora announced that an agreement had been reached regarding the royalty issue, which would significantly reduce the royalty rate, making it possible for Pandora to stay in business. Also announced was that free listening would be limited to 40 hours per month, but can be extended to unlimited for that month for USD$0.99. "The revised royalties are quite high," the company's blog notes, "higher in fact than any other form of radio". The extended listening fee differs from "upgrading", which also disables advertisements, increases the bitrate to 192 kbps, and provides a dedicated music player (as opposed to listening through browser). This service, known as "Pandora One", costs $36 and is billed annually.
 Similar organizations
- Fuzz (music company)
- List of Internet stations
- List of Music Genome Project attributes
- List of online music databases
- Music Genome Project
- Stitcher Radio
- ↑ pandora cangive u any musicSonos Multi-Room Music System
- ↑ Pandora Radio is now available to stream music on your Android phone, retrieved 17 Sep 2009
- ↑ Free online radio removed from MSN
- ↑ Pandora Presents… the Musicology Show
- ↑ Pandora Internet Radio
- ↑ "Breaking Pandora's Heart...". Pandora Blog. 2007-05-03. http://blog.pandora.com/pandora/archives/2007/05/breaking_pandor.html. Retrieved 2007-05-07.
- ↑ "Canada". Pandora Blog. 2007-05-14. http://blog.pandora.com/pandora/archives/2007/05/canada.html. Retrieved 2007-05-15.
- ↑ "Pandora UK closes after royalties demands". The Register. 2008-01-08. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/08/pandora_uk_closes/. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- ↑ Peter Whoriskey,"Giant of Internet Radio Nears Its 'Last Stand'", The Washington Post, August 16, 2008
- ↑ http://blog.pandora.com/pandora/archives/2009/07/important_updat_1.html
- ↑ Unlimited ad-free listening for $36 per year, pandora.com (retrieved 17 Sep 2009)
 External links
- Pandora web site
- Pandora featured in Fast Company
- Inside Pandora: Web Radio That Listens to You (O'Reilly Digital Media article)
- The Flux podcast interview with Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora
- Pandora feature on WNBC-TV
- Closing Pandora's Box: The End of Internet Radio? - May 3, 2007 interview with Tim Westergren
- Pandora adds classical
- Interview with Tim Westergren about the Music Genome Project and Pandora - Intruders tv video
- Dave Dederer & nuTsie Challenge Pandora
- Inc. Magazine profile of Tom Westergrende:Pandora (Internetradio)
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