Friday’s Connections

I’m literally laughing because my nugget and my concept experience came to two different conclusions. In my nugget from Kay and Goldberg’s article, I discussed how Pandora is a form of technology (whereas I previously argued that it isn’t) and it buffers and has glitches just like any other type of technology might. In my “future thoughts” post and Thursday’s reflection, though, I came to the conclusion that Pandora isn’t computerized… I obviously need to revisit my thoughts, but (for now) I think it makes sense to say that Pandora is a form of technology, it’s just controlled by people rather than a computer. Overall I thought our concept experience this week was really helpful because I got to discover new insight on my overall thoughts about Pandora, and I definitely changed my argument after I reflected on the activity.

The KahnQuest’s “future thoughts” were similar to mine because she didn’t see Wikipedia changing too much in 10 years the same way I didn’t see Pandora changing too much. She described how Wikipedia today is pretty much “free information by all, for all” and that motto probably won’t change. In regards to Pandora, I discussed how Pandora is a commodity for the public as well and it’s not going in any direction that the people don’t like. Her reflection was also similar to mine because she changed her direction a bit. Her thesis is now going to focus more on how Wikipedia offers free knowledge and collaboration, and I changed my focus towards how Pandora is technology, though not computerized.

I found Cabouniv200’s post to be really interesting. She talked about how Facebook may have already reached its prime and I hadn’t thought about how some of our topics might not be around anymore in 10 years. Maybe Facebook will end up like Myspace? In her reflection, she decided that she wants to talk about how Facebook keeps people connected. This is sort of similar to mine because I want to look at the relationships between Pandora and technology, and connections between Pandora and its listeners. Overall I think her thesis is going in a pretty neat direction.

Sara’s “future thoughts” really caught my attention because I’m interested in her topic as well and agreed with all of her predictions. It would be really neat, and helpful, if we had to answer some sort of trivia before we used social media or other sites that don’t necessarily augment our intellect. Perhaps advertisements on Pandora could become brain games and quizzes that needed to be answered correctly before listening to music. But as Sara mentioned, people are lazy and might criticize this type of advancement. This relates to my future thoughts because I concluded that Pandora would not do anything that the public didn’t favor, and something like this (although beneficial to us all) will probably not happen.

Future Thoughts

What would Internet radio look like in 10 years? Hmmm…

Future radio and cell phones
Well, Pandora is used on gadgets like laptops, tablets, and smart phones. Granted 10 years is not a long time, but I’m sure there will some changes with these things, and therefore how we use Pandora will be different in that sense. Perhaps there will be holographic images coming from our phones, and we’ll see the musicians of songs performing, or more simply we’ll see colors that relate to the moods of songs (we see blue during a sad song, for instance). These are not too realistic of assumptions, but any changes with these technologies will alter our experience with Pandora.

The app itself will surely change its fashion between now and 2024. The look of everything will eventually become outdated, and they might change their company color, the location of the pause/play buttons, or use different symbols than a thumbs up and thumbs down. The app already offers biographies of the artists and lyrics to each of the songs, so I’m not sure what else they could add in that sense (they actually provide a lot of information and I don’t find myself wishing that they gave me more). The owner of Pandora, though, has received requests for the listener to be able move specific songs from one station to another. People apparently would like to add music to stations the same way they can delete music with the thumbs down button. I imagine that Pandora will add this feature in the next 10 years.

In the future, Pandora may also offer new things to listen to other than music and comedy. Perhaps they will provide the option to hear stories and audiobooks (for fun and/or academics). We could possibly watch movies, where Pandora includes the picture on the screen; they already provide 1 minute visual clips during advertisements, so this seems pretty plausible. I image this would cost more money, though, so Pandora might be limited to do this if the public is not willing to start paying for more expensive memberships.

Overall, I don’t think Pandora, or any form of radio, is going to change so drastically that we won’t even be able to recognize it. How ever technology changes in the future is going to affect Pandora, the face of Pandora will surely change, and I assume Pandora will add more flexibility and listening options. Whatever the changes, they will depend on the public and what people want. If movies aren’t successful, they’ll get rid of it. If people don’t want to pay for books, they won’t offer that either. Pandora is a commodity used for entertainment, and it’s not going to go in any direction that doesn’t please the public.


The main thing I’m thinking about for my inquiry project is how Pandora works, by itself and with its listeners. I realize that’s pretty vague. I’m mostly interested in the fact that humans are the ones that put together the music stations themselves (because most people, including myself, think of Internet radio as technology), and I want to find a concrete answer (if possible) to how much of Pandora’s business/progress is actually related to technology. I’m actually surprised that, when I wrote my “future thoughts” post, I didn’t predict that Pandora would become a technology-only app. I didn’t even think about how Pandora’s owners could create technology to build stations the way humans do now, and there would be no need for people in the future. I suppose this relates to the prospectus of my inquiry project because I don’t see technology to be a huge factor. I thought about technology in the sense of where Pandora is being used from and the look of Pandora’s website/app, but music and the ‘science’ behind composing channels is so humanized that there no way this could change in 10 years. This reveals to myself that, in my inquiry project, I need to focus on this fact. Pandora Internet radio, and even music itself, won’t be computerized now or later.

Nugget #5: Personal Dynamic Media

“There should be no discernible pause between cause and effect. One of the metaphors we used when designing such a system was that of a musical instrument, such as a flute, which is owned by its user and responds instantly and consistently to its owner’s wishes. Imagine the absurdity of a one-second delay between blowing a note and hearing it!”

Well if this nugget isn’t perfectly fitting…
I really enjoyed Kay and Goldberg’s aspirations of the future of technology. I’m not sure, however, that the absurdity of a one-second delay between blowing a note on a flute and hearing it remains true with Pandora. Technology has glitches and buffers, and when I want a song to play on Pandora it may take a second or two. Kay and Goldberg’s ambitions for the Dynabook (in that sense) may not yet have been reached.


Nonetheless, Pandora responds consistently to the listener’s wishes. I hit skip, the song eventually skips. I hit pause, the songs eventually pauses.

In my previous blog posts, though, I’ve been stating that Pandora is hardly technology because how it works & what it does is completely dependent on human efforts. But when Pandora has these glitches or doesn’t follow my commands correctly, it is the technology that is doing this (if not the machinery that Pandora is working through). So in reality Pandora doesn’t just use technology, as I’ve concluded previously, it really is a form of technology. The way it is put together is a man-made creation, but I think I’ve been wrong to say that it is not technology altogether. In other words, Pandora is not fully reliant on technology, or could not continue to work and be successful without human means, but it is a technological advancement still.

In that sense, then, music has come a long way and Kay and Goldberg’s predictions about the future of technology are accurate. We now have small and portable devices that we can control and communicate back and forth with, most of which include the capacity to store information and (if Kay and Goldberg knew the terminology at the time) apps. In conclusion, Pandora is one of these advancements that came with the progression of technology. We interact with Pandora on devices that Kay and Goldberg envisioned – it stores information (songs, stations), and we communicate with this technology to make it do what we want (play music).


Linaibrahim’s nugget related to mine in that her nugget was about the music aspect of Dynabook as well. It’s funny that from the same passage, I found connections to Pandora when I was reading it and she found connections to hip hop and Complex. Any digital form of music, or any form of technology really, can be relevant in some way to Kay and Goldberg’s aspirations for the Dynabook.

Cabouniv200’s nugget was interesting because I didn’t know that Facebook was created specifically with college students in mind. I wonder if all technology has a specific audience targeted when they create it? Or if the inventors of the first notebook computer also had children in mind like Kay and Goldberg? Even if this is so, as Canouniv200 stated, Facebook is now used by a variety of different people, the same way that notebook computers are not typically used by children. Perhaps Pandora had an original audience in mind as well, but I’m sure its users exceed that target today.

Lastly, I enjoyed Sara’s post and the way she sort of summed up Kay and Goldberg’s ambitions in her nugget. Where she related the passage to her Chromebook, though, I thought of the iPad. I personally feel that Apple products are very close to the Dynabook in many aspects. Anyway, I always like her topic about the effects of technology and how we need to use it in moderation.

First Annual State of the Blog Address


My fellow Americans,

We gather here today to address the first half of this course so far. We have struggled as a nation, academically and economically, but I truly see a bright future ahead for all of us with red, white, and blue skies. The inquiry project was a new reform to us all, and I am a proud American when I see how we have all progressed on our own paths. I, myself, have developed an intriguing venture of sources and connections. The content on technology that our new media dreamers gave to our nation inspired me to research into new affairs on my topic. With this change of research, I discovered new information that ultimately led me to where I am now. I could not have formed the relationships between my topic and the new media dreamers without these substantive outside sources. My project and its many ideas are certainly not done, though, and I will not let any of you down as I finish out my term in the last few weeks. If the Internet continues to be easy to work with, I promise to provide a thorough inquiry project that will give powerful comparisons on my topic with my independent sources and our well-known dreamers. I would like to thank Dr. Coats, especially, for being patient and understanding with me as I endure this position. His feedback has helped me to ensure that I am on the right path, and I am capable of creating a great final product with this topic.

God Bless Amurica

Project Prostectus

When we began our research process, I was looking for information to learn more about Pandora’s advertising methods and business model. I didn’t think there would be too much to inquire about in the music aspect of Pandora, so I figured I could compare Pandora’s way of doing things with traditional radio stations or maybe other Internet radio networks for my project.

It turns out, this stuff was really boring. Advertising and business is pretty cut and dry, and not really my thing. Out of curiosity, I changed my research towards the music side of Pandora and it got really interesting for me. From the second week of class, Licklider’s “Man-Computer Symbiosis” intrigued me and I wanted to apply this idea to Pandora and its listeners/employees. I finally learned about this symbiosis, or lack thereof, with my new research.

I’ve found a lot of sources explaining how Pandora creates its stations, picks music, and picks advertisements. Most of this is actually not technology! There are real people taking the time to hand-pick and formulate Pandora in its entirety. This is significant because this project started out as a ‘digital phenomenon.’ I came into this project thinking that Pandora is a complex technological gadget, and I wanted to figure out how it was formed or where it might go in the future. But, as I’ve stated in a lot of other blog posts, Pandora simply uses technology. This means that job loss in the future of the music industry is not an issue, or that technology will not take over the much-personal aspect of music. People are still a large aspect of our future even though it seems sometimes that technology is taking over everything.

This was all discovered when I started to look at the music side of Pandora, and that being said I want to continue searching for that. Overall I think my inquiry project is going in the direction of Pandora as a business: what the employees do, how their product reaches an audience, the thought process behind their efforts, and the significance of technology in the matter to relate back to the new media dreamers’ content on technology. I ultimately want to fully interpret everything going on behind the scenes at Pandora, and connect it to other students’ ideas with our shared readings.

Nugget Curation #2

I’ve been going back and forth between which aspect of Pandora I really want to focus on for the project, so bear with my sources as they concern opposite things.


“Advertising is the art of arresting the human intelligence just long enough to get money from it.”

“Social media companies are legitimate advertising websites, no different than, say, Google or Yahoo. The same way Google made its money is the same way Twitter and Facebook will make their money.”


I’m sure we’ve all heard that advertising involves ‘sneaky’ tactics that make us subconsciously want to buy their products. It makes sense to say, then, that advertising arrests our intelligence for a short period of time because we no longer have ‘control’ of our thoughts. Pandora, for example, offers a minute of advertising for every, let’s say, 5 songs. There are no options to skip the advertisement or speed through it; the listener is almost forced to listen unless they take their headphones out. These advertisements have an independent dialogue so the audience doesn’t need to view the screen (like typical radio advertisements), but Pandora has an advantage over traditional radio stations in that they can also provide a visual image/video on the listener’s phone or laptop screen. This way, Pandora can charge companies more money to be advertised on their channels because their advertisements are sure to reach people more efficiently.

Therefore, the second nugget is hard to argue with. With commodities like these, Pandora is surely an advertising website. Companies pay Pandora good money to be featured on their stations. It is true that Pandora also makes money from membership fees, but most of its success can be accredited to ads, and Pandora makes most of its money the way Google or Twitter do. The question is finally raised that if advertising arrests human intelligence and these websites are advertising websites, are they making us stupid? Is Pandora hindering our intelligence? With Twitter and Google, it’s pretty easy to ignore the advertisements and focus on the content we are looking for, so maybe these don’t necessarily make us stupid (in that sense at least). Pandora makes it really hard to ignore them though, and I’m sure people decide to buy a product on Pandora more often than these other sites. Pandora, then, might not make its audience any smarter, but the program behind how people listen to their music and why they enjoy Pandora definitely is…

“Pandora has no concept of genre, user connections or ratings. It doesn’t care what other people who like Gomez also like. When you create a radio station on Pandora, it uses a pretty radical approach to delivering your personalized selections: Having analyzed the musical structures present in the songs you like, it plays other songs that possess similar musical traits.“

It doesn’t take a genius to use Pandora, but the company’s music analysts sure are. The way Pandora creates its stations is called the Music Genome Project. Pandora’s employees, referred to as music analysts, listen to each and every song before it’s added to Pandora. They break up each song by its melody, rhythm, tune, algorithms, lyrics, and 395 other things (they look for a total of 400 different things). Then they can find similarities between songs by these factors, and create stations with a bunch of complementary songs that listeners will also enjoy.

Pandora listener: becoming dumber but enjoying great music

Pandora listener: becoming dumber but enjoying great stations

“Pandora […] grew out of the Music Genome Project, which company founder Tim Westergren began six years ago. […] He became fascinated with the way directors described the music they were looking for, which led to his wondering what made people enjoy certain types of music. He asked himself, “If people haven’t found any music that they love since college, and artists are struggling to find an audience, is there a role for technology to help bridge the gap?”“

What we’ve concluded so far: listening to Pandora will arrest your intelligence for about a minute between every 5 songs. Those sequences of 5 songs, however, will be awesome because they have similar musical traits to the primary song or artist you put in. Now we need to address the technology factor of Pandora. Pandora can only be used through a smart phone or computer (whether that is a desktop, laptop, or tablet doesn’t matter). Pandora was invented because Tim Westergren wanted to use technology to help artists and listeners connect more efficiently. But has he reached his goal? The following nugget should tell us:

““It’s true that the algorithms mathematically match songs, but the math, all it’s doing is translating what a human being is actually measuring,” says Tim Westergren, who founded Pandora in 2000 and now serves as its Chief Strategy Officer. “You need a human ear to discern.” Pandora’s secret sauce is people. Music lovers.“

So technology is definitely a factor in Pandora’s journey, by all means, but the most powerful component is the music analysts. Pandora’s employees, the ones who listen and take apart thousands of songs, are really the ones accountable for bridging the gap. Technology can not (yet) discern between these multiple factors like human beings can. People who study music are able to do so and are the reason that Pandora has become so successful. This applies to music itself. Technology doesn’t (yet) create music, people do. Musicians certainly use technology to create beats, sounds, and other things, but this is still controlled by humans. The same is true with creating radio stations, traditional or on the Internet. Technology is the means used, but people are behind the magic.

I can not guess what the future of this entire industry would be, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility for humans to have no part in it. Pandora’s music analysts could get tired of listening to more and more songs as artists come out with new music, and they may create technology to do it instead.