Step up your game, music bloggers: the above image is an application to work at Pandora, the Internet radio station that recommends you new music based on your preferences. Are you down with the Wu-Tang? Check out Odd Future and Dipset, Pandora might say. Into Katy Perry? Try Robyn and Sade! But Pandora doesn’t just run on an algorithm—it also depends on a staff of listeners acting as arbiters of taste, making the call when a comparison is just right or laughably off-base:
Pandora’s secret sauce is people. Music lovers. Professional players who pass job application tests requiring them to pick, for example, one of four jazz tunes and “describe the harmonic language,” answer whether it’s “tonal or modal,” and “outline the progression.” These wonks pour over every track that Pandora downloads or rips (yes, rips from hundreds of CDs purchased each week) and catalog its 400-plus attributes before adding it to the 850,000-plus song library. It’s this hominal factor that has helped Pandora keep its engine serving so many new listeners in so many new places.
Heavy stuff. We’re guessing a snide “This is just derivative of The Beatles” crack won’t fly at Pandora HQ. Check out the full story at the main site.