Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Station Building 101: Artists vs. Songs

I frequently use both artists and songs as seeds. I will use a set of consistently similar artists to form the base of station, and then add any individual songs by other artists of which I'm aware that might also fit the desired theme of the station.

However, one must be careful when adding songs as seeds to any station. The fact is that there are songs which have a Backstage page, and will come up as a positive result of a search, but which have not been analyzed and are not available for play on Pandora. When you add such a song, the Player behaves exactly as if you had added the corresponding artist to the station. And so the problem is that you may think you adding a single song which fits the theme by an artist who does not usually do that type of song while, in fact, you could be adding the entire otherwise irrelevant corpus of that artist.

In order, to verify that that a song is available for play, check its Backstage page and verify that it has a list of "Similar Songs". Of course, if you've already heard the tune on Pandra, then it's available for play and (modulo any rare cases where, say, a studio version has been analyzed but a live version has not) perfectly safe to add to your station.

Another advantage of artist seeds is that Pandora is constantly adding new music, and by using artist seeds you are much more likely to hear new music by that artist as it becomes available.

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