The streaming music service Pandora is wonderful but there are a few simple ideas that can make it perform better.

First, get involved, respond with thumbs up or down on the winners and losers.

But wait! Before you click thumbs up on a song, remember Pandora doesn’t know what you like about that song. Don’t upvote because it gives you happy memories of an old friend, upvote if the general characteristics of that song (genre, melodic style, etc.) are the things you want to hear more of. If a station plays a song you sort of like but you don’t really want to upvote, just let it go by. If you don’t vote it down, it will stay in the list of “acceptable” songs.

When making a new station think the same way: Do you want all the sorts of songs that artist ever made as the station seed? Or is it one or two songs that you love? Be specific.

Unless you want an “Oldies” station, be careful about upvoting old songs, Pandora seems to have a weakness for drifting toward retro.

It can be effective to use several artists or songs for a station but don’t make it too diverse or it will lack a firm style. Instead of trying to make one very mixed station, try making a bunch of very tightly focused stations and then turning on shuffle. This can give you the best of both worlds: Different kinds of music in the mix but all of it focused tightly on what you really like!

 

 

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