How To: Get the most out of Pandora

Pandora is a wonderful and complicated engine for finding new music, it is also an excellent place to listen to your old music. However, Pandora is also a lot of work, but just like children can be groomed to excellence.

The Grooming Process

First things first you need to setup a user account.  Secondly, you need to come armed with patience, time, snacks, and something else to do that doesn't require a lot of brainpower.  The basic idea around grooming Pandora is self evident in Pandora's design, but most people don't understand how to make it work for them.  You should always start by entering your favorite song as a new station.  You have the option of creating a station based on a band, but I find that doesn't work well.  It doesn't work well because bands often go through stages and change there sound from album to album. This produces a station with a very wide variety of music that you often don't want to hear. Now begin said activity that requires very little brain activity and listen to Pandora.  You will need to be very active in selecting which music you like and do not like.


The hardest part of grooming Pandora is deciding what should go and what should stay.  In my opinion anything that doesn't directly relate to the song you chose should be killed.  After about twenty or thirty thumbs down and half as many thumbs up you start to really feel your new station taking shape.  After about another hours work you will notice that every song playing has thumbs up by you.  This is the goal. Note: At some point Pandora will not allow you to skip any more songs when that happens you will just have to wait a couple hours, then come back and kill a bunch more songs you don't like.  That means that all the songs you hear are great.  Every once in a while Pandora will introduce  something you haven't heard and if you give it the thumbs up than you will get more songs like that.  Overall, you will hear most of the same songs regularly.  Many people think the logical thing to do would be to use the tool provided to add variety.  I think that tool is horrific, instead I create a new station and do the same thing until I get the desired effect.  I then use the quick the mix tool to combine the radio stations into one.  After you do this three or four time you get a wide variety of music, but you love all of it, and if one of the stations falls out of favor you can just kill

I love this song but it Just doesn't fit

Often in the process of building up a new station I find songs that I love that just won't fit into the station.  Rather than just giving it the thumbs down Pandora provides two options from their pop out menu.  You can either move the song to a station were it does fit or start a new station for that song.  I have enough solid stations now that I rarely need to start a new station, I can just move the songs to the proper one.  This is really the sweet spot for Pandora, but every once in a while I start a new station and groom it to perfection.  Almost always when I start a new station, it's because Pandora introduced a great song that just won't fit into any of my other stations.

Pandora is the best music service out there and has helped me discover tons of music I love.  If you have a little love and do a little work, you will get much better results in the long run.  If you have any other Pandora tips drop them in the comments.  And if you have never been to Pandora hit the link now.


Written by Jon

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