Pandora says its 'like' data keeps it relevant against Spotify, Apple

The company is eyeing other investments in the Internet of Things

Chris Barton, founder of Shazam, left, and Chris Martin, middle, CTO at Pandora, spoke about the future of music at the M1 mobile summit on Nov. 13, 2014, with Harry DeMott of Raptor Ventures.

Chris Barton, founder of Shazam, left, and Chris Martin, middle, CTO at Pandora, spoke about the future of music at the M1 mobile summit on Nov. 13, 2014, with Harry DeMott of Raptor Ventures.

Pandora, the algorithmic music radio app, is not afraid of its competitors in on-demand streaming like Spotify and Apple-owned Beats Music, because it has better feedback data than them, the company claims.

"We're sitting on a gold mine of music and metadata relative to what people like and don't like. If we can continue to mine that, that's our opportunity," said Chris Martin, chief technology officer at Pandora.

"Pandora is still in its adolescence," he added, speaking during a panel discussion at the M1 mobile summit in San Francisco Thursday.

Pandora now has about 45 billion pieces of thumbs-up and thumbs-down "like" data, which helps to determine the songs the app plays for users. That's been the foundation of Pandora's app, but it's a model now threatened by other apps like Spotify, Rdio and Beats Music, which provide other ways to help people consume and find music. The competitors' services include user customized and outside curated playlists.

But building up data around the song itself is important, and Pandora remains committed to using feedback signals from users, Martin said. That's what will allow the company to continue to provide personalized playlists for users, he said.

At the same time, Pandora now has around 1 million pieces of music in its app that are manually curated, he said. Human-made playlists are a big element in Apple-owned Beats' service.

Pandora is also eyeing opportunities to get its service into a greater variety of devices as the Internet of Things grows, said Martin in an interview following the panel discussion. The upcoming Apple Watch is one possible device, and other connected devices in the home, he said. Pandora's app can be added now to other devices like the Ouya gaming console, and cars.

"It's about ubiquitous music," Martin said.

Pandora says it has about 80 million active users.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesPandoraMusic and audioRdiomobileShazamBeatsinternetmobile applicationsAppleSpotify

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?