Pandora whitelisted my account so I was able to see how these playlists stack up to the personalized options that Spotify and Apple Music have long offered. While I don't have nearly as many listening hours in Pandora as I do through the top two services, the app still pulled together three playlists that mixed familiar songs with new tracks, a good number of which were worth a listen.
The playlists were automatically added to my Pandora library, and showed up with the label "playlist made for you." Given that indie rock is generally my genre of choice, I wasn't surprised to get a playlist titled "your indie rock soundtrack." Pandora took a pretty wide view of what falls under "indie rock," but overall it was a good mix of new and old. I also received "my focus soundtrack" and "your rainy day soundtrack." The focus playlist was probably the least compelling of the three, but there were still some solid instrumental jams from artists like Bonobo, Helios, Tycho and Zero 7. The rainy day soundtrack was also pretty good, with gloomy tracks from The War On Drugs, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and The Shins — though I will say that The Who's "Baba O'Rily" doesn't quite fit the mood.
All three of these playlist updated on a weekly basis, so I got to see them refresh a few times. They stayed pretty much in the ballpark of the description, but it also revealed what is perhaps Pandora's biggest weakness. Every time I've used Pandora in the past, I've found that stations heavily lean on artists or songs that I've given a "thumbs-up" to in the past, and the same thing is happening here. There was a lot of overlap in terms of the artists who showed up on the two indie rock soundtracks I checked out — just enough to make me wish for more variety.