Friday, August 15, 2008

August Listening Test Results

I have just completed my August listening tests, and I must say that the current version of the song selection algorithm is MUCH more to my taste. Check out the charts:

With the exception of the new station, "Corny Schlocky Sappy Songs", (which is the title of one of many delightful Carla Ulbrich songs used as a seed for this station) all the ratings are up to new heights of satisfaction. Part of the reason appears to be that the selection algorithm seems to be doing a bit less exploration:

Note in particular that "Bright Electra of the Seven Sisters" had never played more than eight previously thumbed-up tracks out of forty. This month all forty songs played in the test had been previously thumbed up.

I even had a momentary concern that the stations might not be exploring enough new music, but I've concluded, no, this is pretty much exactly how I've always wished Pandora would perform. I feel much less need for any advanced controls at all under the current state of the selection algorithm.

Consider the seemingly impossible goal of building a novelty song station in Pandora. If we could filter on the focus trait "humorous lyrics", such a station could have be perfected shortly after its birth. However, "The Best Medicine" has performed terribly since I created it in Feb. '07 with satisfaction scores as low as 3/10. This month, however, it played 27 previously thumbed up tracks, and found four new humorous tracks for a satisfaction rating of 8.125/10. I only thumbed down 6 tracks which is significantly less weeding than usual.

Thus, you'll be hearing much less whining from me for advanced controls under the current selection algorithm. This version is approaching being the Pandora I've always wished it would become. In fact, Pandora could probably continue to push the selection algorithm in this direction, and I'd be even happier.

I've sent a version of this post as an e-mail to Tom Conrad to say how pleased I am with the changes.

No comments: