PEDESTRIAN.TV has partnered with Pandora to show a lil’ love to their Music Genome Project + v talented musicologists. Where will you end up? Click HERE to start your music journey.

KFC‘s 11 herbs and spices. Coca-Cola‘s (apparently green) base formula. Apple‘s everything. Netflix‘s algorithm. The secret to how the fark Sea-Monkeys work.

There’s one simple reason why brands are hyper-protective of the mechanism/s that make their multi-million dollar gears turn – if everyone had the recipe, no one would buy the cookbook. That means less customers, less profit and all the other good stuff.

It’s the same deal for intuitive streaming service Pandora, which keeps the secret sauce that powers its A+ music recommendation engine very close to the chest.

So what *do* we know? How *does* Pandora know what you want to hear, before you do? Lean in, close now. Closer. Closerrrrrrrrr.

The key is Pandora’s top-secret Music Genome Project, which it reckons is “the most sophisticated taxonomy of musical information ever collected”, apparently representing 10+ years of analysis. 

Thought up by two clever dudes named Will Glaser and Tim Westergren around the time Pandora was birthed, the MGP is powered by a crew of expert musicologists (a career worth thinking about, no?) whose sole job it is to define music according to more than 400 attributes.

According to Pandora:

“Our team of thirty musician-analysts have been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every song. It takes 20-30 minutes per song to capture all of the little details that give each recording its magical sound — melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics… and more — close to 400 attributes!”

We don’t know quite what those 400 attributes are, because they’re the 11 herbs and spices of Pandora’s business model, but Internet investigators attest to there being more than 50 attributes related to vocals alone, 21 to synth and 22 to guitar.

Using your feedback – that’s whether or not you sling a song the thumbs up or down / finish listening to it – Pandora’s algorithmic wizards are able to tweak which musical attributes you’re most into, which is how they tailor a playlist to your specific tastes.

So how do your musical interests stack up against your mates’? No two people have the exact same taste in beats, but there are crossovers.

Take, for example, The Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Juicy’. It’s THE banger to end all bangers, with universal appeal. There are very few lyrics as synonymous with the 90s as, “It was all a dream”, areweright?

With a little help from the MGP, Pandora’s musicologists can use that one iconic banger as the starting point to unearth other songs in realms of rap ‘n hip hop that you’ll froth on just as much.

We tested the theory out on some human guinea pigs aka three readers, using Biggie himself as a filter.

  1. The first legend who let us get amongst his track history is Gordy. He’s 30, so he lived through the epicness that was the Golden Era of hip hop. 
  2. The second is 15 y/o Kristy, who’s all about that rap / edm lyf. She enjoy’s Biggie’s sound because of its killer delivery (‘nuff said). 
  3. Lastly is Lucy, a 42-year-old who loves herself an urban sound, mostly because it’s a nostalgic kick in the feels. 

Check their musical journey.


TD;DR? It only takes one song to kick off your music journey, and just 30 thumbs up / down to curate the perfect playlist for your ears.

So, where will you end up? Will it be different place to your mates? ONLY THE GENOME PROJECT CAN ANSWER THAT.

Click HERE to start your music journey. 

Photo: The Simpsons.