What Is Pandora? + How Pandora Works

According to Greek mythology, Pandora was the first human woman. Created by the gods, her name meant "receiver/giver of all gifts", including the gift of music that she received from the god Apollo. Unfortunately, her curiosity led her to open Pandora's Box and unleash all manner of evil into the world, leaving nothing but hope behind.

Flash forward to today, where Pandora is now the name of a service that gives the gift of music to people who seek it out. And, unlike the gods who punished the mythological Pandora for her curiosity, the modern-day Pandora is all about rewarding your curiosity in music! Using the research findings from the Music Genome Project, the largest music-related study ever undertaken, Pandora lets you type in the name of a song, artist, or genre of music, and then play songs that are musically related. You can control Pandora even further by telling it what songs you like or don't like, and it will use that information to play more of what you want to hear and less of what you don't!

So what exactly is Pandora?

Pandora is a music streaming and discovery app. It lets you create "stations" based on songs, artists, or genres that you like, which then play related songs. For each station, you can choose which songs you like or don’t like, which will cause Pandora to play more songs similar to the ones that you like.

Pandora One is the paid subscription version of Pandora. It allows songs to be played in higher sound quality, and to be skipped more often. Pandora One also eliminates all commercials heard between songs on Pandora, and does not cause your current station to pause for a break as often as the free version.

How does Pandora work? 4 cool things to discover

1. Discover music on your terms, whenever and wherever you want.

Pandora is rather flexible with regard to how you use it. You can listen to it without an account, or you can create an account and save your musical preferences. Plus, you can listen to it directly on the Pandora website, or download the app for your mobile device or modern home sound equipment! Oh, and did we mention that it's free, as well?

2. Create up to 100 custom radio stations based on music that you already like.

Is "Let it Be" by The Beatles your favourite song ever? Or maybe you're more of a Rolling Stones kind of person. Or maybe you just like classic rock in general. Type a song, artists, or genre into Pandora, and it will find something that you'll enjoy listening to!

Selecting musical criteria for a Pandora radio station

3. Refine your radio stations by adding criteria, or liking/disliking songs.

Okay, so let's say that you're a fan of The Beatles, but don't like the blues rock of the Rolling Stones. Maybe you like that The Beatles do feel-good pop songs, like The Beach Boys. You can tell Pandora to make a radio station that plays songs similar to those of both The Beatles and The Beach Boys at the same time! Or, if you happen to like a song that comes on, you can "thumbs up" it; similarly, you can "thumbs down" and skip a song that you don't like. The more that you interact with Pandora, the better it learns your musical tastes, and the more it can play just the music that you want to hear!

Refining the musical criteria for a Pandora radio station

4. Share your musical passions on Pandora, on social networks, or right on your device!

Can't get enough of a song or station that you're listening to on Pandora? Share it on your Pandora profile so that people who view you or follow you can see what you're into in terms of music. Or, share your favourite stations and songs on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, so your friends can see what you're jamming out to. You can even buy songs or CDs on iTunes or Amazon right from Pandora!

Sharing or purchasing music found on Pandora

There's a lot more to discover about Pandora, both in terms of the music it will play for you and how it actually works. In our next tutorial, we'll tell you a bit about the potential costs of using Pandora.