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Pandora Bounties

I’ve used Pandora for many years and its selection is persistently limited in some genres of music I’d like to hear more of.  So given this, why can’t it offer bounties for creation of new music?

In my experience, liking or disliking more than every fourth track quickly leads their algorithm to overfit and play the same collection of, say, 50 songs without any variety.  This leads to user fatigue and consumption elsewhere.  As each station is essentially trying to learn what subgenre you enjoy, many users may end up with essentially the same overfit station and Pandora can tell how long they persist under the repetition before leaving for another source.  These statistics give Pandora a reasonable way to set the music-creation bounties, as they can be viewed as a projection of future earnings once the music has been created.

More importantly, this idea creates what should be a central element of Pandora’s business plan, that is to better inform artists what music is in demand.  Nostalgic artists are free to cling to the idea that they only produce what moves the heart, but for practically-minded and emerging artists, this program would give them some basic criteria to shoot for.

Works submitted for each particular bounty could then be introduced into the stations of previously-frustrated users, with the bounty winner determined by likes or plays over a set trial period.  (An element of this would be notifying users that Pandora has found new music for their station, encouraging them to give it another try.)

These works needn’t be new, as the bounty could incentivize retired musicians to enroll their music in Pandora’s catalog where rightsholder discovery may have prevented their prior inclusion.  Newly-created works would benefit both the artist and Pandora, as made-for-Pandora works could be recorded with significantly less or no label involvement, allowing Pandora to give artists all of the streaming fees (they could also be treated as works-for-hire, though this might reduce participation).

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