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Pandora Radio : An Automated Music Recommendation Service and Custodian

Pandora Radio is an automated music recommendation service and custodian of 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 the Roku DVP (formerly Netflix player) Reciva based radios (from companies like Grace Digital, Sanyo, Sangean), 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, iPad, and iPod Touch through the iTunes App Store. Pandora is also available for Android phones (such as the Motorola Droid), BlackBerry platforms, WebOS (used on the Palm Pre and Pixi), and Windows Mobile devices. Pandora was the provider for MSN Radio until MSN discontinued their internet radio service on June 18, 2008. A modified version of Pandora has been made available for Sprint Nextel beginning with the Samsung Instinct phone line.

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. In his June 2010 appearance on The Colbert Report, Pandora Radio founder Tim Westergren stated that most users choose the free subscription.

As of March 2010, Pandora had 700,000 tracks in its library and 48 million users who listened for 11.6 hours per month on average.

In May 2010, Pandora was named in Lead411's “2010 Hottest San Francisco Companies” list. In January, 2011, Pandora met with bankers to consider a possible $100 million IPO. [source : Pandora Music]

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