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December 20 2013

'Walter Mitty' Ad Uses a Spot of Pandora's Secret Sauce

In a continuing effort to attract more listeners to its movie soundtracks, 20th Century Fox created a holiday ad for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that gives some Pandora users a taste of the music service's still-secret algorithm for the first time

The Ben Stiller-directed fantasy drama Walter Mitty hits theaters on Christmas Day. The ad, "Discover the Secrets," is targeted primarily at female Pandora users 18 and older who are listening to playlists featuring holiday music.

It's the first ad of its kind on Pandora. Here's how it works: say you are listening to Brian McKnight on a holiday station. The ad will pop up telling you what attributes that specific song has, according to Pandora's algorithm ("piano accompaniment" and "R&B roots"), that will be used to determine what similar songs to play next for you Read more...

More about Advertising, Music, Marketing, Films, and Pandora

December 12 2013

Spotify May Kill Pandora and iTunes, but Not Just Yet

Spotify may eventually make your iTunes and Pandora accounts obsolete, but don’t delete them just yet

Spotify's introduction of free streaming on-demand music to mobile devices, announced Wednesday, will not cause an overnight collapse of the major online music players, and may provide a short-term boost for services that still sell music. The more serious questions surround the long-term implications for a music industry already grappling with change.

Music lovers still buy musicSales of music on iTunes have not only weathered the storm of online music streaming, but benefitted from it. Even with the growth of streaming music, per-buyer spending on downloads rose 6% in 2012, according to NPD Group,market advisory service that tracks sales. Read more...

More about Itunes, Pandora, Streaming Music, Spotify, and Iheartradio

December 10 2013

An Alarm Clock for Pandora and Other News You Need to Know

Welcome to this morning's edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world.

Today, we're looking at three particularly interesting stories. Music streaming service Pandora has included an alarm clock in its latest updateYahoo is reportedly in talks to acquire image-sharing site Imgur. As many brands are working toward their own Internet of Things, several technology companies are joining forces as the Allseen Alliance in the interest of creating an “open, universal development framework."

Check out the video above for more on these stories. Read more...

More about Yahoo, Pandora, First To Know Series, Media, and Tech

October 31 2013

Google Chromecast Now Streams Pandora to Your TV

Music-streaming service Pandora is finally offering support for Google's Chromecast device, which plugs into any HDTV to stream online videos and music, controlled from your tablet or smartphone.

Chromecast users can access Pandora starting now via the free Android and iOS mobile app update. The $35 HDMI dongle, which debuted this summer, already supports Vimeo, Redbox Instant, Netflix, YouTube and Hulu Plus. Compatibility with HBO is also reportedly in the works.

“More than one-third of radio listening takes place in the home and we are continually innovating and investing in new platforms that help us seamlessly deliver access to Pandora across a broad range of connected devices," Pandora CTO and Executive VP of product Tom Conrad said in a statement. "By integrating Google Cast technology into our mobile apps, users now have another easy access point to a better listening experience from the biggest screen in their living room.” Read more...

More about Google, Pandora, Tech, Apps Software, and Gadgets

September 18 2013

Pandora Gets a New Logo, Redesigned iOS Apps

Along with the launch of its redesigned iOS 7 apps Wednesday Pandora as a whole is seeing a little bit of a design update in the form of a new logo.

The new logo will appear on Pandora’s website, and a new icon will replace Pandora’s current logo for its mobile apps.


While the new look may seem like it was prompted by iOS 7, the operating system actually wasn’t the catalyst for the change.

“We started work on the update to the Pandora brand and identity about a year ago,” Pandora CTO and EVP of Product told Mashable.

“I wish I could tell you that my predictive powers were such that I knew back then that all of this would intersect with the iOS 7 launch to the day – but we’re not quite that good. “ Read more...

More about Apps, Pandora, Ipad, and Ios 7

September 11 2013

Pandora Names Former Microsoft SVP as New CEO

Pandora named Brian McAndrews, a former Microsoft exec, as its new CEO on Wednesday, ending a six-month search to replace longtime CEO Joe Kennedy

McAndrews joined Microsoft as a senior vice president in 2007 after it acquired aQuantive, a digital marketing company which he built up and ran. That acquisition didn't work out particularly well for Microsoft: It took a $6.2 billion writedown on the aQuantive deal in 2011

McAndrews left Microsoft at the end of 2008 and later joined Madrona, a venture capital firm, as an investing partner. He also is a board member of several prominent companies including The New York Times Co. and Grubhub Seamless Read more...

More about Microsoft, Pandora, Business, and Music

August 23 2013

Pandora to Lift 40-Hour Cap on Free Mobile Streaming Next Month

In February 2013, Pandora introduced a 40-hour monthly cap on free mobile streaming in order to balance increasing royalty costs. Now, the company has announced it would remove this limitation on Sept. 1

The decision to do so was announced by the company CFO Mike Herring, who explained the reasoning behind the move during an earnings call. The company has developed more precise techniques to control costs, and recent improvements in advertising allow Pandora to better monetize those extra listening hours.

"Our investment in advertising infrastructure and implementing smart levers such as reducing song skipping and limiting mobile listening have helped us drive monetization and manage content costs, as reflected by the increase in RPM and a decrease in content costs as a percentage of revenue," said Herring Read more...

More about Streaming, Pandora, Business, Advertising, and Music

August 21 2013

Can a Donation Model Work for Streaming Music?

Digital music raked in $4 billion in revenue last year, with streaming giants Pandora and Spotify eating up the lion's share.

Other tech companies began to dabble in music, too, with Google, Twitter and Apple offering ways to become your personal DJ.

So far, the formula to turning a profit — or at least getting close to one — is a mix of audio sales, freemium models and in-app advertising. But a new startup is trying to test that model by asking for a handout rather than payment.

Radical.FM launched an iOS app on Tuesday with a library filled with 25 million songs. The service operates on a pay-as-you-want model — a bit of a head-scratcher, considering major rivals are still losing money. It claims to be ad-free, and it mostly is — but between every few songs, a short infomercial asking for listeners' donations. Read more...

More about Apps, Free Music, Online Music, Startups, and Pandora

August 08 2013

Rdio Introduces Personalized Stations

Rdio, the ad-free subscription service geared toward music discovery, just fired off a string of updates including more personalized functions like an improved stations component and a new player.

The company made the announcement on Twitter and in a blog post on Thursday.

Genre stations, You FM, a stunning new player — all this and more with new and improved Stations: http://t.co/SO6pDDkzqE

— Rdio (@Rdio) August 8, 2013

The update focuses on the stations feature, which has been promoted to the left-hand navigation menu. It also adds new popular genre stations and You FM, where the songs and artists are influenced by the listener's tastes Read more...

More about Music, Streaming, Pandora, Rdio, and Entertainment

June 03 2013

Why Apple Is Getting Into the Music Streaming Business

Steve Jobs was perhaps the loudest critic of streaming music in the late 2000s. While companies like Pandora and Rhapsody gradually gained traction, the late Apple co-founder and CEO repeatedly denounced these services and resisted invitations to create a similar subscription option for music.

"Never say never, but customers don't seem interested in it. The subscription model has failed so far," Jobs said in an interview with Reuters in 2007. The following year at Macworld, he reiterated the point: "We've never offered a rental model in music because we don't think people don't want to rent music." Read more...

More about Apple, Pandora, Streaming Music, Spotify, and Business

September 04 2012

Will Streaming Music Ever Be Profitable?

Think of nearly any song and pull it up instantly on Spotify. Can't get enough rockabilly in your life? Create a dedicated radio station on Pandora. In a streaming world, the era of music ownership is over.

Or is it? Despite their increasing popularity, these services are hemmoraging cash in the face of tough license agreements and mounting content acquisition costs. In truth, we're still in a period of transition. People are consuming more streaming media than ever, but record labels, movie studios and TV networks are still figuring out how to license it profitably.

We hold out hope they'll get it right, and that great apps like Pandora and Spotify live to tell the tale of how they go…
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More About: Business, Revenue, infographics, music licensing, pandora, spotify

August 29 2012

YouTube and Pandora Will Live Stream Budweiser’s Made in America Festival [EXCLUSIVE]

Budweiser is teaming up with YouTube and Pandora to live stream its inaugural "Made in America" music festival.

The festival is taking place this weekend -- Sept. 1 and 2 -- in Philadelphia and will feature major artists from across genres. Headlined by Jay-Z, other artists at the festival include Passion Pit, Mike Snow, Skrillex, The Hives, Rita Ora and Odd Future.

For Budweiser, it was important to make sure the event was accessible to all fans -- not just those that could attend in person. That's why the brand made the decision to work with both YouTube and Pandora to bring the live stream to all fans.

While streaming live events is old hat for YouTube, this is a first for Pa…
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More About: YouTube, budweiser, budweiser ads, concerts, jay-z, live streaming, made in america, pandora

August 23 2012

Pandora for Android Gets a New Look

Pandora updated its Android app Thursday, completely overhauling the app’s look to make it easier to navigate, and adding a number of new features.

Launched on Android in 2009, the new version of the app offers updated song history – allowing you to review, rate, and bookmark previously played tracks. The updated version of the app also revamps how you explore music, letting you see full song lyrics for tracks you’re listening to, artists’ bios, and similar artists and tracks.

Much like other app updates, the newest version of Pandora also brings with it some bug fixes and enhancements.

SEE ALSO: Pandora vs. Spotify: Who Will Win the Battle for Streaming Music?

In May…
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More About: android, iOS, pandora

August 12 2012

How Are You Listening to Music? [INFOGRAPHIC]

A recent study found that 73% of people use players like Pandora or Spotify but only 20% will pay for that music.

More About: infographics, music player, pandora, spotify

February 07 2012

Pandora vs. Spotify: Who Will Win the Battle for Streaming Music?

Matthew Bryan Beck is an NYC-based singer-songwriter, producer, editor, graphic designer and photographer. He writes the tech/social media blog Sludgr. Follow him on Twitter and Subscribe on Facebook.

Once upon a time, the future of streaming music rested squarely on the shoulders of Pandora Radio.

Built on the Music Genome Project, a patented mathematical algorithm that scans over 400 musical attributes (like rhythm, tempo, syncopation, key tonality, vocal harmonies, etc.), Pandora creates customized “stations” based on similarly-matched artists, songs and styles.

Several years ago, users clamored over to Pandora, finding its selection startlingly accurate. Pandora played songs users actually wanted to listen to — as if by magic. Often, users would discover new artists and download songs separately on iTunes.

Soon, Pandora developed a solid mobile app, and its corner on the market seemed sewn tight. Pandora had the elusive “cool factor.”

Then came Spotify.

But Even Spotify Has Its Drawbacks

The Swedish site launched as an invite-only service in Europe in October 2008. Spotify’s exclusivity only strengthened its mystique in the U.S. Delayed by licensing issues (deals were finally cut with Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, EMI Music and Warner Music Group, among others, for digital streaming rights), Spotify finally debuted stateside to much anticipation and fanfare.

Many people giddily signed up for a six-month Spotify trial — only to find the service lackluster.

Spotify’s free account can’t use the iPhone or Android apps, and the desktop application is choked with ads. Plus, the service only allows you to stream a limited number of tracks, unless you upgrade to a paid account. The Spotify Unlimited $4.99 option removes the ads and has unlimited desktop streaming, while the $9.99 Premium option increases the bit-rate to 320k, removes ads and enables mobile access.

SEE ALSO: Why Pandora Isn’t Scared of Spotify

Pandora features a similar premium option: Pandora One, a $36 per year subscription, removes all visual and audio ads, increases bits-per-second to 192k, and offers unlimited song skips.

Social Media Integration

People spends tons of time on social networks, and building streaming music apps into that user experience proved key to skyrocketing Spotify’s exposure.

Spotify nixed its invite-only status and scored deep Facebook integration, announced at last September’s F8 conference. “We knew that the service would have to be inherently social,” said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. “There couldn’t be a better place to do this than Facebook.”

However, now Spofity forces users to sign up through their Facebook accounts, something Pandora does not. People have raised privacy concerns over Spotify/Facebook information access; the app publishes to the Facebook Ticker what tracks you listen to, but some people would rather keep their music tastes private.

Social media integration doesn’t necessarily equal automatic success. Brands and marketers have learned this the hard way. Just because a Hollywood studio or production company makes a slick Facebook game to promote a movie doesn’t mean that film is going to smash the box office.

Music Services That Almost Stole the Show

Take iLike and Last.fm. The first streaming music service to have a Facebook app, iLike saw early success in 2006, attracting a half million registrants in the first four months after launch. At the time, it seemed the only game in town. But where is it now? Well, MySpace bought the service in 2009. At time of writing, iLike sees only 53,888 visitors per day and uses a total of one server.

UK-based Last.fm “scrobbles” tracks played on third-party media software, then builds a profile of the user’s musical preferences. The service had a day in the sun, but also failed to secure a foothold into Facebook or MySpace. Last.fm still lingers (mostly due to overseas traffic) with a healthy 876,599 visitors per day, but it has no social media buzz, no “cool factor.”

Last.fm, iLike, Napster, Rdio and other under-the-radar streaming music services are to Pandora and Spotify what Microsoft is to Apple and Google: Even if some people still use the services, it’s dead in the water in terms of social media cred.

Pandora operates annually at a loss of millions due to complicated digital streaming rights and bandwidth costs. If the service cannot combat the Spotify horde swatting at its crown, Pandora will find itself permanently dethroned.

Image courtesy of Flickr, flattop341

More About: contributor, features, last fm, Music, music streaming services, pandora, spotify

January 13 2012

Rdio Invades Europe, Brings Unlimited Ad-Free Digital Music to Germany


Rdio is inching its way up to join the digital music mammoths that dominate the online and mobile streaming world — Grooveshark, Pandora, Spotify and Sony’s Music Service — not only in the U.S., but internationally.

Music lovers in Germany can now listen to ad-free, unlimited streaming music provided by Rdio.

Rdio has had its sight on Germany and Australia for expansion since last year. The company also has roots in Brazil and Canada. Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis launched Rdio in August 2010.

One of Rdio’s top competitors, Spotify, which has been available in the U.S. for six months now, also has international ranks in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Grooveshark — with service available in 30 languages — has a huge global audience including Russia, Japan, India, Turkey, Italy, Brazil and Germany. Sony’s Music Unlimited also has a big international with availability in 13 countries, including New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland and the U.S. Pandora, however, is only available in the U.S.

Rdio offers a substantial catalog, with more than 12 million songs, and gives U.S. listeners access to free, ad-free music streams. However, there is an undisclosed cap on free listening with this deal. The company chooses not to disclose the number of songs or amount of free music users have each month, but a bar on the home screen dwindles down that users can track.

New listeners in Germany will get a seven-day free trial of Rdio Unlimited with an email address or Facebook account. Pricing and plans available include Rdio Web 4.99 EUR (web only), Rdio Unlimited 9.99 EUR (web and mobile).

SEE ALSO: Spotify to End Unlimited Free Streaming for Some Users Next Week

Rdio’s expansion into German markets is just another step toward further growth. “Rdio’s international expansion is an important milestone in the digital music service’s plans to continue its international expansion across the globe,” the company said in a statement.

Spotify is often compared to Rdio as a competitor in the U.S. One project conducted by Wired lists the top 20 artists that are exclusive to each. On Rdio, exclusive artists leading the list include Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen. Other artists that are exclusive to Rdio include The White Stripes, Queen and Charles Mingus.

Artists leading the list of artists exclusive to Spotify include My Dying Bride, Miles Davis, Candlemass, Funkadelic, The Pretty Things, and maudlin of the Well with two exclusive albums closing out the list.

More About: Business, internet, Music, music streaming, pandora, rdio, sony, spotify

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January 12 2012

5 Alternatives to Consider After Spotify’s Free Music Cutoff

If you’re an early Spotify user, you may be looking for a new, free music-streaming service as Spotify’s six months of free listening comes to an end.

Trendsetting music lovers who signed up for Spotify when it first hit the U.S. on July 14, 2011 will soon encounter roadblocks. For instance, come the six-month deadline to switch to Spotify Unlimited ($4.99 per month) or Spotify Premium ($9.99 per month), Spotify users will only be able to play their favorite songs a maximum of five times, and free streaming will cap at 10 hours per month.

It’s no doubt the unlimited access to a huge library of music — about 8 million tracks — is one of the features that loyal Spotify users love.

SEE ALSO: Shazam’s New App Wants to Be Your Music Player

Other features include the ability to make playlists of favorite songs (up to 10,000 tracks per list) and social integration to Facebook. Songs you play automatically display on your Facebook Timeline and desktop sidebar. Plus, access content via share buttons and a convenient search bar. With Spotify Premium, users enjoy an offline mode, which means they can listen to playlists on the plane, train or beach. Finally, radio stations specifically tailor to a user’s specific artist or genre preferences.

As fun and convenient as Spotify is, for many, the honeymoon phase is over with the service’s free music cutoff. Here are five free music-streaming websites and applications that act as alternatives to Spotify.

1. Grooveshark

Grooveshark Home Screen

Grooveshark is a comparable service that provides free on-demand music streaming with ads. Over 30 million people use Grooveshark globally.

How it compares to Spotify: Comparable features include the option to share songs or playlists with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social networking platforms. Like Spotify, Grooveshark offers a downloadable desktop application. Other capabilities include radio-streaming and uploading your own music. Grooveshark also offers song and artist suggestions related to your listening habits.

Differences: Since anyone can upload music to Grooveshark, audio quality of tracks may vary. With Grooveshark, there is no monthly limit for free accounts, as opposed to the 10-hour cap soon to occur on Spotify. However, ads play on both systems.

Size of Music Library: Over 7 Million Songs

Paid Options: Grooveshark-Plus ($6 per month) provides unlimited, ad-free listening. New application Grooveshark-Anywhere offers to-go music streaming at $9 per month.

Mobile Availability: Free radio streaming or on-demand access to music with paid subscription for Android, Nokia, Palm, Blackberry and “jailbroken iPhones,” as listed on Grooveshark’s website.

2. Pandora

Pandora Main Screen

Pandora‘s desktop and mobile free radio-style music-streaming service provides tailored sets of tunes based on the artist or track you input.

How it compares to Spotify: Pandora allows users to easily listen without having to search for tracks or create a playlist. “The Music Genome Project” behind Pandora generates music related to your search terms. The radio will tweak itself according to your thumbs-up or thumbs-down ratings. However, there are limits to songs skipped per hour. Pandora’s social sharing capabilities are pretty weak compared to Spotify’s wide range of Facebook, Twitter and Messenger capabilities.

Differences: Spotify is clearly better if you want a wide selection of on-demand music streaming. Pandora Internet radio plays from a smaller collection of 700,000 songs, compared to Spotify’s 8 million-song vault.

Size of Music Library: 700,000 tracks

Paid Options: Pandora One ($36 per year) comes with unlimited music play, higher-quality audio, unlimited song skips and no advertisements.

Mobile Availability: Free radio streaming and premium listening via Pandora One options are available on Android 1.6 and later, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod touch and Palm Pre devices.

3. Rdio

Rdio Free Music Player

Rdio is a desktop music streaming application that allows new users in the U.S. to access ad-free, on-demand music streaming for an undisclosed amount of time a month. From the co-creators of Skype, Rdio began to offer Rdio Free with a set amount of ad-free, free on-demand music with its Facebook integration in October 2011.

How it compares to Spotify: Both non-paying users of Rdio and Spotify can play music on-demand, share their playlists and favorite songs on numerous social networking websites, receive music recommendations and listen to artist-tailored radio stations. We like how Rdio and Spotify allow free users to browse and listen to top tracks lists, albums and new releases.

Differences: Rdio Free comes ad-free and on-demand, whereas Spotify plays ads in between song sets. The company will not disclose how much time is free for users who opt out of the premium service. Rdio states, “We’d rather do it this way than bombard people with ads…When you run out of free music in any given month, you can choose to upgrade to any of Rdio’s existing pricing plans or start free anew the following month.”

Size of Music Library: 12 million songs

Paid Options: Rdio Web ($4.99 per month) offers unlimited web streaming from browser or desktop platforms. Rdio Unlimited ($9.99 a month) offers unlimited web streaming plus unlimited mobile streaming. Unlimited Family ($17.99) offers two unlimited web and phone subscriptions.

Mobile Availability: Available on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android 1.6 or higher, Windows Phone 7 devices and Blackberry phones.

4. MOG FreePlay

MOG FreePlay Screen

MOG FreePlay is the free version of its original subscription-required application.

How it compares to Spotify: Like Spotify, MOG FreePlay offers free music streaming with ads. However, for 60 days, new users can listen to MOG FreePlay without ads. Similar to Spotify, MOG FreePlay logs users in through Facebook and shares music with friends. The service provides recommendations based on bands and artists you have Liked on Facebook. Both players have options to create playlists, favorite songs and much more.

Differences: MOG FreePlay also offers an undisclosed amount of play, like Rdio; however, this platform gives you a chance to earn more free music every month by earning points for inviting friends to join MOG.

Size of Music Library: 13 million songs

Paid Options: Paid options for unlimited music include a MOG Basic plan ($4.99 per month), which comes with unlimited, on-demand music for your computer, sans mobile access. The MOG Primo plan for $9.99 per month comes with computer and mobile access and unlimited streaming to your phone.

Mobile Availability: Only available through Primo plan to iPhone, iPod Touch and Android phones.

5. YouTube

YouTube Main Window

While YouTube is a video player, we recommend using YouTube for free, on-demand music streaming if you love listening to songs on-demand. You can use YouTube Disco to find songs by artist. A search for Beyonce turned up 100 videos, mostly from her official VEVO site.

How it compares to Spotify: Create playlists of your favorite songs for listening at work or play. You can also easily share YouTube videos on various social networking platforms.

Differences: Listening to music on-demand on YouTube may be more work — you will have to search for songs to listen to them. However, access plenty of playlists others have pre-packaged.

Mobile Availability: YouTube’s pre-installed application works on Android and iOS devices. Downloads are also available on Windows Phones. Web-based versions are available for most smartphones.

What music streaming applications or services do you use? How do they compare with Spotify? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Andreas Blixt

More About: features, grooveshark, MOG, Music, online music services, pandora, rdio, spotify, YouTube

December 29 2011

How the Social Media IPOs of 2011 Fared [STUDY]

Social media continued to thrive in 2011 as it fomented revolutions in Egypt, Libya and Bahrain. But investors appeared to be a lot less enthralled.

Looking back over the 19 social media IPOs of 2011, Kevin Pleines — an analyst with Birinyi Associates, a stock market research firm — found new social media stocks were generally a bad investment, as 82.4% were trading below their opening-day prices. In fact, as of Wednesday, only three were trading above the price they opened on their first day of trading.

This, however, may say less about the social media sector than about IPOs in general. An analysis by The Wall Street Journal found that there were fewer IPOs in 2010 and that the amount raised was 6% less as well. As of the last week of the year, two-thirds of companies are trading below their IPO price. In that regard, social media IPOs performed slightly better. Going by the IPO price, rather than the price the stocks opened on the first day of trading, Pleines found that 57.9% (11 of 19) of social media stocks were trading below that level.

Below is Pleines’s assessment of the 19 social media IPOs of 2011. What do you think? Will Facebook’s looming IPO give the market a shot in the arm? Sound off in the comments.

1. Yandex (YNDX) -20.8% from its IPO Price

Yandex, a Russian search engine, raised $1.3 billion when it went public in May, making it the biggest social media IPO of the year.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Angie's List, Demand Media, groupon, IPOs, linkedin, pandora, renren, yandex, zillow, Zynga

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December 27 2011

Pandora Tests Live Show and Video Waters

Pandora is bringing aspects of its new live concert series to the web.

The personalized web radio service launched its new live concert series earlier this month with the Southern California band, Dawes. Pandora and launch sponsor Budweiser let 230 fans in Portland, Oregon see the emerging rock band free of charge. Now, aspects of that live experience are on the web in a new portal.

Called Pandora Presents, the portal showcases aspects of the live concert — including behind-the-scenes videos — along with a 100-song curated mixtape. The mixtape or “station” was selected by the band in combination with Pandora’s analysts and the service’s algorithm.

The web portal is attractively designed and offers up a glimpse at what might happen if Pandora embraced more video content rather than focusing just on audio.

The only really disappointing aspect of Pandora Presents is that, at least now, actual footage from the concerts isn’t available online. Vevo has been sponsoring live concert series for quite some time and it makes the footage viewable online too. Likewise, MTV’s Hive project frequently offers online access to live shows of emerging artists.

With Pandora facing increased competition from Spotify, looking at alternative methods to connect with listeners makes a lot of sense.

More About: pandora, pandora presents, vevo

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December 16 2011

Spotify Radio: Pandora’s Biggest Nightmare? [REVIEW]

The new Spotify Radio started its broader rollout on Friday, giving premium and free users unlimited access to custom radio stations, each with unlimited skips.

The big news with Spotify Radio is that stations can be created around not just genres — but artists and songs as well. This puts Spotify Radio on more equal footing with music-discovery juggernauts such as Pandora.

Spotify Radio is powered by The Echo Nest. The Echo Nest’s Playlist API powers the stations, using Spotify’s library of 15 million tracks — along with The Echo Nest’s recommendation technology — to create a rich and customized radio experience.

The Echo Nest has spent much of 2011 making deals with various companies, including iHeartRadio, the MTV Music Meter and eMusic’s new radio stations.

The net result is that you can get a more granular, customized radio experience. For instance, in my tests, I was impressed that creating a radio station around the college a cappella group, The Dartmouth Aires, included tracks from other college (and even a few post-collegiate) groups, as well as some symphony takes on modern pop songs. As a category, a cappella isn’t well tagged within Spotify, which is why I chose this as a test subject.

Right now, the only feature that Spotify Radio is missing is the ability to “unlike” or “ban” a track. After all, if I’m listening to a “Singer-Songwriter” station and I start to hear a lot of John Mayer, pressing skip until Josh Ritter or Jose Gonzalez comes on can be an annoying part of an otherwise pleasant experience.

The big advantage that Spotify Radio has over Pandora is Spotify’s unlimited skips. This gives users an enormously powerful way to find just the right sort of jam.

I do wish I could save a certain Spotify Radio set as a playlist for future listening.

With The Echo Nest powering the stuff behind the scenes, Spotify Radio might just be enough to make me give up my premium Pandora account and just use Spotify full-time. What do you think of Spotify Radio? Let us know.

More About: Echo Nest, pandora, spotify, streaming radio

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