Site: Pandora Revenue model: Advertising, purchase, and subscription
My music library is vast. It would require one over seven weeks, listening 24/7, to hear every song. To say I love music is akin to saying a hungry hobo likes a hot ham and cheese. Imagine then my delight after discovering Pandora Internet Radio a couple of years ago.
Pandora, arguably the most popular music Social Media site on the Web, sets itself apart from other Internet radio sites via the Musical Genome Project; born from the minds of William Nelson and Tim Westergren in the latter part of 1999. In the first year of the new millenium, they partnered with John Craft, and founded Pandora Media. They wished to “capture the essence of music at the fundamental level,” using almost 400 parameters to characterize songs along with a complex algorithim for organization. Nolan Gasser guided elevation and condensing of the musical anatomy and efficacy of the Musical Genome Project, broken down into 5 Genomes: Pop/Rock; Hip-Hop/Electronica; Jazz; World Music; and Classical. Songs are epitomized by “genes,” such as vocalist gender or electric guitar distortion level. Pop/rock contains 150 genes, rap 350, and jazz nearly 400. Other examples, e.g. world music and classical, can carry from 300 to 500. Using numbers 1-5 at half-integer increments, lists of songs are comprised using a linear measurement. Pandora uses this technology to play songs based on user preferences. Access is restricted to U.S. listeners only due to licensing restrictions.
While listening, site visitors are offered the opportunity to purchase songs or even entire albums. This allows for the building of music catalogs with heretofore unknown artists for the particular user. The proprietary media player is available through several component manufacturers as well as a desktop application. Registered users are given profiles, and may comment on songs and artists, access the music listened to by others, learn of concert listings, and more.
Access to Pandora is limited to 40 hours per calendar month; thereafter a charge of $0.99 is assessed for the time remaining. The premium service, Pandora One, offers upgraded services, including unlimited listening, no advertising, no daily skip limit, higher quality audio streams, etc. The price for this service is $36.00, and includes the aforementioned desktop application so that browser access is unneeded.
For the serious music enthusiast, Pandora is journey’s end, especially with Pandora One.