Pandora is an online radio service that recommends songs to the listener based off of a starting choice. The primary goal of the service is to provide the listeners with songs that they may or may not know that they like. Pandora is able to do this through the Music Genome Project, a comprehensive analysis in which data was collected on a large quantity of music and compiled into a database.  The Music Genome Project has 400 musical traits for every song entered in the database that it uses to bring listeners similar music to their initial song choice. Thus, when a song or artist is chosen on the service, data is pulled from the Music Genome Project to identify the next song choice.
Pandora is only available in the Unites States, Australia, and New Zealand.  The service is owned by the company Pandora Media Inc., and it offers the product as an application on most smartphones. Pandora is offered in two ways. Users can listen for free with advertisement, or they can subscribe and fully join the Pandora community with an advertisement free experience. Also, Pandora allows users to jump from the service to another location, such as iTunes, where they can purchase the songs they are listening to.
With Pandora, the listener needs simply to sit back and relax as the program selects the perfect song for the moment. By taking on the responsibility of selecting quality music related to a particular starting point, Pandora is ideal for listeners who do not have the time or energy to create a playlist but know what type of music they want to hear. The music genome project provides the program with a powerful database to generate the perfect song. Pandora is also a helpful tool for listeners interested in finding new types of music. Users enter in a new song they enjoy, and the program finds other songs, which they may not have previously heard. In this manner, a listener can quickly expand their musical tastes.
Pandora does not have a featured medium to communicate directly on the site. The most communicative feature on the site is that users are able to follow the music feeds of friends and comment on their selections. In this way, users can discuss music they enjoyed or hated. A more social way to use the service would be by tying it to one's Facebook. Pandora allows users to share what they are listening to on their Facebook profiles, opening up the music selection as a starting point for communication on Facebook. Pandora also gives users the option to "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" songs that stream on their current station. This allows for users to interact with the software, but also allows for the listeners to feel like they have control over the random, genre-based selections that the radio stations play.
Digital Media Characteristics
Nancy Baym highlights seven key aspects of digital media in her book, Personal Connection in the Digital Age: interactivity, temporal structure, social cues, replicability, storage, reach, and mobility.Pandora, being a music entertainment service, applies primarily to only a few of these aspects.
Pandora is certainly an interactive form of digital media. The whole concept of the service is to personalize music selection for the individual user. Thus, by selecting certain songs and responding "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to a given song, the user interacts with the service in order to create an ideal station. Traditional online music sites such as Rhapsody simply present the user with stored music to choose from; whereas, Pandora interacts with the user to personalize a music station.
Pandora has a synchronous temporal structure, meaning that it reacts immediately to adjustments. When the user enters in a new station or wants to skip a song, the medium reacts instantaneously.
Pandora is not highly replicable. Unlike services such as Spotify which allow you to create playlist that will be stored on the site, Pandora creates radio stations that you can return to, but the stations will not be replayed in the exact order with the exact songs. However, Pandora does have a feature that allows you to like and dislike songs. The songs that you like will be stored in a playlist that you can reference in the future. It does not allow you to play the full song, but it comes in handy if you are interested in purchasing or remembering the songs that you liked. If you do not like a song, you can hit the dislike button and the song will not be played again through the specific station. These features show how Pandora has a small component of replicability that comes in handy to the majority of its listeners.
Reach and Mobility
Pandora enjoys a great deal of reach and mobility because it is accessible for almost anyone with internet service. Pandora can be accessed on any internet-capable digital device. Mobile devices, such as smartphones, usually have an application that provides Pandora Radio. However, Pandora is only available for users in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, which severely limits its global reach. The fact that Pandora is on mobile devices makes it easily accessible whenever and whereever you go.