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Ideas: Customize stations based on track features (Instrumental, genre, explicit)

Ideas: Customize stations based on track features (Instrumental, genre, explicit)

Opening Act
Status: Open Ideas

Pandora has a "music DNA" system where they figure out the DNA of a song or artist and then play more stuff like that.

It's called the Music Genome Project (

It would be nice to be able to skip the "song or artist" part and just write the DNA yourself.


Pandora sometimes does a shallow job of figuring out the DNA of a song.  It's impossible for them to tell what you like about the song, and it's likely they'll focus on the wrong aspects.  Being able to specify the aspects would solve this problem.


Let users add or remove DNA items.  Maybe let them specify priority of these DNA items as well.


Only as is easily approachable from a development perspective, suggested interactions
* Add music genomes positively (like)
* Add music genomes negatively (dislike)
* Remove/clean up music genomes (no relevance)
* Genome priority rating system?  (eg rating in range [100, -100] where 100 means songs must have genome and -100 means songs must NOT have genome)


explicit(-100), instrumental(50), jazzy(80) => jazzy instrumental songs (emphasis on jazzy) which do not include expletives

Moderator Edit: Changing title for clarity

Labels (2)
Local Performer

@Seph i really love the idea of sharing station / music taste DNA online or with others.

like imagine taking your thumbs up station DNA, match it with some friends, and then creating a "group DNA" station for hangouts. not manually, obviously. but in a way that isnt completely opaque.

or at the very least, allowing APIs for third party apps to do it.

Local Performer

Yes, please implement this!!

Local Performer

Let me just begin by saying I have subscribed, and unsubscribed from Pandora several times. Each time I unsubscribe is for the same reason: there is not enough user control over how a station chooses songs to play. My primary reason for using Pandora, like many people is to find new music to love that I haven’t heard before.

The “discovery” mode for stations is new for me in my most recent return to Pandora, and it’s a step in the right direction, but I’m still really disappointed that Pandora has still not implemented any way for users to choose what types of track features (“DNA”) are prioritized in finding music!

We are told that choosing a station based on a song rather than an artist will yield better results, but it doesn’t. When I start a station based on a particular song by an artist, for example, a folk artist but the particular song features horns and other elements that aren’t normally found in folk music, I still get a station that selects run-of-the-mill folks songs and does not emphasize that *this is a folk song that is not a normal folk song and challenges the boundaries of what folk music means*. This is just one example.

Over the past 10 or so years that I have tried and re-tried using Pandora, its limitations always leave me feeling like I simply can’t get what I want out of it. 

Please, please, PLEASE, give users more options for customizing how stations select music. Let us CHOOSE what DNA track features are used in selecting songs to play. I genuinely don’t understand why this still isn’t an option. It would make using Pandora so much more useful. 

For now, I will probably continue using Pandora for a month or two and then unsubscribe again, as I can already see how the stations I’m making are ending up just like the last time I did this. If I had better options I would definitely stay subscribed. Just saying. 

Local Performer

I've been listening to a Pandora station I created based mainly on 1940's - 1960's jazz artists.  I've noticed that Pandora seems to prefer certain artists over others, even after I added several individual tracks of artists that weren't getting much play.  I've also added several tracks of certain albums I would like to hear, but Pandora seems to prefer playing tracks from other albums of the same artists.

Here are some examples:

  • John Coltrane was one of the original artists I added to my station, but Pandora only played ballads by him until I started adding individual tracks of his more 'modal' up-tempo tunes; since then I'm hearing more of those, but I still get over 50% Coltrane ballads, I'd rather about 25% ballads and 75% his more exciting stuff, but there's no way to tell that to Pandora.

  • Cannonball Adderley was one of the original artists I added to my station, but Pandora played hardly any of his material, and what little it played was down-tempo and ballads, not exactly what this artist is known for.  After adding some individual hard bop tracks of his, Pandora seemed to get the hint, but I still get a lot of his down-tempo stuff.

  • Pandora seems to love Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers!  So do I, but I'd like to hear a bit less of him and more of other artists in my list, like...

  • Jackie McLean, an artist selection of mine whom Pandora doesn't seem to like at all.  I've tried adding several individual tracks of his, but I have yet to hear them, or much other Jackie.

  • I dig Grant Green, but I had to remove him from my list of artists because for a while it seemed like every second or third track Pandora played was him.  During that period, it also seemed like Pandora was playing 60% - 70% tracks of guitarists; besides Grant there was a lot of Kenny Burrell and Pat Metheny.  Again, it's not that I don't like these guys, but too much is too much!  I didn't want to use the "I'm tired of..." option because it's not that I don't want to hear these tracks at all, just less often.

  • However, I did hit the tired button on "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" by Charles Mingus, because it was almost the only tune of his Pandora would play for several days.  Lately, Pandora seems to have realized that there is much more of Mingus than just the 2 or three albums it was playing, over and over.

  • Given my artist selection, I can't imagine why Pandora tried playing Barry White for me!  Had to thumbs-down several times before that stopped.

  • Every so often Pandora sneaks in an R&B track, like Temptations, 4 Tops, OJs.  Mostly I don't mind, but occasionally I have to reject songs that are more toward crossover bubblegum, such as Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose.  What does that have to do with 40's - 60's jazz anyway?

  • I would like to hear tracks from an album called "Several Shades of Jade" by Cal Tjader, with arrangements and compositions by Lalo Schifrin.  Pandora has yet to play any of these, although Cal is on my artist list, and I've added several individual tracks from that album.  Instead, all I get is his Latin jazz tunes from the same 3 or 4 albums.  Apparently Pandora thinks that Cal Tjader = Latin jazz, period.  To be fair, Pandora did play one or two cuts from his "Breeze from the East" album, which is an inferior sequel to "Several Shades" without the orchestra and the great arrangements, only the Asian motif.

  • For quite a while, Pandora seems to have thought that Bob Brookmeyer, from my artist list, released only one album, "Bob Brookmeyer and Friends".  Lately she's found a couple of others.  Even worse, I like Ahmad Jamal, but the only album of his Pandora has played tracks from so far is "The Awakening", with 1 recent exception, one cut from another of his albums, just 1.

So here's my complaint: too much of some artists, and some albums and some tracks, not enough of others, and no way to tell Pandora that.  I've been thumbs-upping the tracks I really like, and the ones I want Pandora to play more often, or play ones like them.  This has been moderately successful, lately.  But still no Jackie McLean, not enough hard bop by Cannonball, a bit too much by Art Blakey, and please, find some other Ahmad Jamal albums, please!

What I'm wondering is: could Pandora add a feature that allows station builders to prioritize artists and tracks?  Like, I'd like to hear more of this and less of that, but don't take the less of that away permanently, like a thumbs down, or temporarily, like I'm tired of.  Is that possible?  Feasible?

I hope so.