Pandora, Pause Fest & Being Single

February 20, 2016

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Had the pleasure of working on the digital advertising side of things for Pause Fest this year through Bolster Digital, and ducked out of the office to check out a few sessions too on the Friday (cheeky face + pass above).

If you’ve never heard of PF (?!) it’s the premier creative tech conference/expo/festival in Australia. Think seven days of workshops, talks, networking, expos, masterclasses, screenings, interactive events and more across technology, digital, creative, innovation and business in Melbourne.

I went down to check out the start up expo (bumped into a few ex-Collabforge buddies promoting their startup!) as well as listen to a few of the Business Day talks. The most interesting talk was Pandora’s Jane Huxley discussing music streaming in the creative economy. Here are some interesting tidbits I picked up from Jane’s talk:

  • Pandora is essentially a data company. The company uses the music genome project to describe/classify/group any piece of music using over 450 music genes. Pandora also uses insights from plays, similar acts, geographic location of listeners who ‘thumb up’ tracks etc. to help artists/labels make important decisions (the same could be said about Spotify insights, iTunes Connect data, mailing list info and Facebook audience insights too… which most bands sadly don’t use to their advantage).
  • There’s a huge difference between having music obsessives (ahem, me) and non-music fans as the end consumer. Pandora has never hugely appealed to me because I’m psycho when it comes to what I listen to… Like all music nerds, I have a few rituals such as listening to at least two new albums each Friday and putting songs on playlists depending on what colour scheme I hear when I listen to it. The crowded on demand streaming market includes the likes of Spotify, Deezer, formerly Rdio, the soon-to-be-gone JB Hi-Fi Now, the maybe-soon-to-be-gone Tidal, and Rhapsody. All geared for types like me. Pandora, on the other hand, are for people who enjoy music and want it playing for whatever reason (workouts, in the office, for dinner parties) but are passive listeners. These users want their chosen platform to pick music for them, and that’s where the music genome project comes in handy. Pandora uses mathematical algorithms to queue up songs that have a similar musical fingerprint to the song that just preceded it. This is like next level ‘related artists‘, hey?
  • Pandora work with three types of users. (Users is probably the wrong word but hear me out.) 1. BANDS who can use insights to push their music out to fans (see: next dot point on list). 2. FANS who use Pandora to discover new music they may dig thanks to the magic that is the music genome project. 3. Non-music BRANDS who can use bands as a way to find new consumers.
  • “Recorded music is the business card of the musician.” Direct quote from Jane, but pretty sure I’ve said similar things less eloquently in the past. Jane used Odesza as a recent example, with the band using Pandora to promote a Pandora-specific presale (Pandora blog post about it here).

You can follow Jane on Twitter here. And… I don’t have Pandora but I am a huge Spotify advocate so feel free to follow my many bizarro playlists here.

P.S. For a festival that ran over Valentine’s Day weekend, I feel like my one-day pass for the Business conference was very fitting as a single lady.

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