Skip to main content

Pandora now lets you mess with the secret sauce for its music playlists

NurPhoto/Getty Images

Finding your new favorite music is about to get easier than ever on Pandora. The data-loving streaming service has long ranked as one of the best platforms on the web when it comes to recommending great new tunes to listeners, but it’s now providing even more unique listening opportunities.

Now listeners have a choice of something Pandora calls Modes, but which are essentially specialized algorithms to recommend new music based on user-designated parameters.

There are six new modes that users can pick between:

Crowd Faves gives preference to songs that have the most thumbs up by other listeners on a given station. Deep Cuts offers less-listened-to songs by an artist or in a set genre. Discovery provides more artists that don’t usually appear on that station. Newly Released picks the latest songs for a given station. Artist Only will stick to a single artist’s catalog. Finally, there’s My Station, which is the company’s original algorithm.


The new modes feature is already available to both paid and free users of the streaming service and should do well to provide even more Pandora listeners with exactly what they want to hear with as little moment-to-moment input as possible.

We’re big fans of the new feature and wish that companies like Spotify, which offers listeners its custom Discover Weekly and Release Radar playlists weekly, would follow suit. After all, being able to pick a favorite genre and tell the streaming service that you just want to hear new songs, or less popular songs, or whatever fringe jams you might not usually hear on a Pandora station, is a pretty cool feature.

One thing is for sure, even before the change, Pandora offered listeners one of the most advanced music discovery algorithms on the web, having pioneered the technology for over a decade.

For its part, the company says that the new experience is designed to get users excited about picking their own music on a more granular level, which is something that Pandora has not necessarily been known for throughout its history. In the on-demand music streaming era, many people think of Pandora as a product akin to internet radio. Now, the company is clearly looking to change that.

Editors' Recommendations