Personalized radio service Pandora has reached a major milestone: last week it recorded its 10 billionth thumb (and it was a thumbs up).
Avid fans of the popular service already know what that means — for the rest of you, Pandora lets users mark the song that’s currently playing with a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down. The effect is pretty straightforward: hit a thumbs up and Pandora will try to play more music that sounds like the song you’re listening to, thumbs down and Pandora will immediately jump to the next song and send a minor electric shock to CTO Tom Conrad.
In other words, these thumbs are explicit signals that users are sending to Pandora to help fine-tune their radio stations, and it shows that plenty of people actually try to take advantage of the personalization features as opposed to just letting the radio play in the background all day.
In a blog post announcing the news, founder Tim Westergren writes:
Of the many milestones we’ve hit over the past 6 years, this is perhaps the one that makes us most proud. We created Pandora to bring personalization to radio, to allow each individual to determine the sound of their stations, and to make it as simple and intuitive as possible. There is no greater evidence for us of meeting that objective than the ongoing engagement you have all shown in your use of the thumbs.
Pandora Radio is an internet radio service, recommendation service, and the custodian of the Music Genome Project. Users enter a song or artist that they enjoy, and the service responds by playing selections that are musically similar. Users provide feedback on approval or disapproval of individual songs, which Pandora takes into account for future selections. While listening, users are offered the ability to buy the songs or albums at various online retailers. As part of the Music Genome Project, over...