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Algorithm feedback

Opening Act

Let's start with the obvious... Pandora today is not the Pandora I joined in 2006. The algorithm for song selection has changed, and this change has led to some adverse effects for a lot of users. A quick scroll through the community will reveal inappropriate song selection and high repetition as two primary issues

Please do not move this to one of those threads

I suspect the high repetition is simple economics - Pandora only wants to pay so many royalties on your behalf, so they limit the number of individual songs played on your station. It would be nice if Pandora was a little more up front about this, but I am not really expecting that.

So let's talk about inappropriate song selections

(again, please don't move this to one of those threads)

I know the algorithm has changed, and not for the better. One of my first stations used to play a very wide variety of music, and now it plays Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd, and Sting/Police in almost perfect rotation over and over again. I have changed nothing with the seed songs in many years.

If I follow the history of Pandora correctly, the music genome project has essentially died. It was very resource-intensive and not particularly cost-effective, particularly when you throw increasing royalty costs into the mix.

What I suspect is that Pandora songs are no longer being classified at the song level. Instead, when you select a song (by seed or thumbs-up), you are getting associations made at the album and artist level tied to your station. These associations may have adverse results if you selected that song because it has something different about its sound compared to the rest of the album, and I think this is the trap that most old-school Pandora users are falling into.

If the economics to classify things at the song level aren't really there, there is still a simple fix to avoid problems. If I thumbs-up ONE song from an album/artist, and thumbs-down the next two... leave that song on my station, but make no associations. Let it play, but do not let it influence further selections. 

Give it a shot. It will probably work a lot better than walking users through surgically removing seed songs

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3 Replies

Opening Act

A few other observations;

Changes I make to Station A, or just the mere fact that I listened to Station A, will influence the song suggestions I start getting on Station B. I have separate stations for a reason. If you can change the algorithm so it does not bleed across stations that would be very helpful

If a song is not thumbs-up'd or thumbs-down'd, it appears to repeat at a much higher frequency than other songs. This is annoying. I haven't graded it for a reason

Opening Act

Do you have a developer tool to allow users to customize their station algorithm?

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Local Performer

I would pay for a subscription for a service using the algorithm from the 2010s

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