Ever offer a song on Pandora a thumbs up, only to hear it eons later and wonder how impossibly bad/good your taste in music could’ve been back then? Thanks to Pandora’s new Thumbprint Radio feature, now you can … for better or worse.
The premise of Thumbprint Radio is rather simple. Unlike traditional Pandora, which serves up songs that fit within the genres, artists, and albums you’ve favorited on the service historically, the new station plays only the tunes you’ve specifically “thumbed up” in the ten years since Pandora’s launch. It’s basically a walk through memory lane, with the opportunity to endorse the musical choices you noncommittally made years ago. Have an enduring fondness for Green Day? Thumb the group’s songs up again. Still can’t get enough of Aaron Carter? Mash that “like” button over and over on “I Want Candy.”
Don’t expect to hear Kelly Clarkson belting out 2005’s “Behind These Hazel Eyes” right off the bat, though. In recognition of the fact that your tastes may have become a bit more discerning in the years since you began jamming to Pandora mixes, Thumbprint Radio will focus first on songs you’ve liked in the past four or five months. Additionally, Pandora’s excluded a few genres, specifically children’s music, classical, comedy, and holiday, that it thinks might clash with the rest of your streaming library.
And Thumbprint Radio has another unfortunate, if obvious, limitation: you need to have at least three stations with four favorited songs per station in order to use it. (Pandora says that covers about 93 million of its 300 million users.) Those who qualify won’t have to make room for it in their station list, though (Thumbprint Radio doesn’t count against Pandora’s 100-playlist limit), and they will be able to share their personalized station with friends.
Thumbprint Radio’s launch comes as Pandora ramps up efforts to compete with subscription music offerings from Apple and others. On the heels of an unprofitable third financial quarter and shrinking user base, the service acquired online concert ticket retailer TicketFly in October and on-demand streaming competitor Rdio in November. Both purchases, Pandora says, are in preparation for “an expanded listening experience” set to launch toward the tail end of 2016.
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