Pandora goes full Spotify with personalized playlists

Powered by the Music Genome and refreshed weekly.
Billy Steele
B. Steele|03.28.18

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Spotify began building custom-curated playlists back in 2015 and now Pandora is offering a similar option for its listeners. With that Pandora calls "personalized soundtracks," the company will put its Music Genome to work creating a library of playlists based on your listening habits. "The personalized playlists fit your moods, activities and favorite genres and are updated each week based on your individual musical tastes," chief product officer Chris Phillips explained in a blog post. "We combined our human curation with personalized algorithms to automatically serve up new artists and songs anticipating the perfect balance of discovery and steady favorites."

Of course, this isn't the first time Pandora has offered curated playlists. Last October, the service revealed a set of 250 options covering a range of genres and themes. Those playlists were powered by the company's trademark Music Genome Project as well, but now Pandora is tailoring the playlists to each user with collections that mostly center on genres and moods. In fact, the company says it employs over 75 machine-learning algorithms to do the heavy lifting here. Basically, you should see more music that you'll be interested in rather than a more generic list. You'll also see more playlist options as you stream more music over time.

Since its introduction, Spotify's "Discover Weekly" playlist has become one of the service's more popular features. If you're not familiar, it pulls in a mix of new tunes every week based on what you listen to. Spotify followed that up in 2016 with "Release Radar," a list of newly-released music that refreshes once a week that's, once again, catered to your listening habits. Apple Music also offers mixes influenced by the songs you stream. The weekly update is something Pandora will do here with its new options as well. And to be honest, it's a great way for listeners get fresh music on a regular basis with minimal effort.

Pandora's new "personalized soundtracks" will be available inside the "Browse" tab of the "Featured Playlists" section of the app. Unfortunately, it's still in the testing phase, but the company says the new feature is rolling out to more users "over the next couple of months." When they do pop up in the app for Premium users, you'll be able to share a playlist with anyone -- Plus, Premium and free users will all be able to give the shared track listing a spin.

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