Pandora ANZ launches, based in Auckland
Pandora’s launch in Australia and New Zealand, within the next 24 hours, will be accompanied by stations based around New Zealand musicians and will use servers based in Auckland to ensure solid performance.Zara Baxter | Monday, December 10 2012 | 1 Comment
Pandora Internet Radio will be launching in New Zealand “within the next 24 hours” according to its founder, Tim Westergren.
The entire operation for Australia and New Zealand will be based out of Auckland.
The locally cached server, hosted by Voyager in Auckland, will help us - and our friends across the Tasman - avoid bandwidth issues that may otherwise arise from using US servers.
PC World asked why now is a good time to launch in New Zealand and in Australia, and Westergren told us that it was a matter of negotiating with the agencies that handle rights. Australia and New Zealand were the first agencies outside the US that were able to come to an arrangement for the internet-based radio station.
Although Pandora is launching a few months after Spotify and Rdio, Westergren said Pandora is a unique offering.
“All of those services are on-demand. Pandora is a radio station, and what we offer is complimentary to those other services,” said Westergren.
That Pandora is a radio station also means that it can offer its full selection of music to New Zealanders, as it does to those in the US.
The collection that Pandora offers is over 1,000,000 tracks, which include music from 1901 onwards. Westergren said that Pandora actively tries to be a "museum" of music, collecting as much as it can for its expansive playlist.
Pandora’s claim to fame is the “Music Genome”, a system whereby trained musicians classify music according to around 450 categories, such as “spoken word”, “syncopated beat”, or “high hat drums”. When you enter a single song, several tracks or a band, this forms the starting point for a radio station that provides music the genome predicts you would like. You then use thumbs up, thumbs down and favourites to fine tune the station. It helps you to find tracks serendipitously, rather than picking specific songs you want to hear.
As part of its expansion into New Zealand, Westergren said that Pandora is actively looking for New Zealand musicians to submit music. While it takes a couple of months to get music classified into the music genome, all it takes to request addition to the radio service is to upload a digital sample. If Pandora is keen, they’ll ask for higher quality samples for their musicians to listen to.
There will also be some genre stations curated especially for Kiwis as Pandora launches. In addition, Westergren says that they will experiment with using listeners region to ensure that they get a good selection local music that fits their personal music genome preferences.
Westergren recommended getting hold of the app, available for iOS and Android, to get started with Pandora at launch. The apps will be available shortly.
Also worthy of note is that New Zealand (and Australia) is getting Pandora after a recent update, 4.0, that allows more sharing, via Facebook and Twitter, as well as sample starter radio stations for people who may want to try out a genre but don’t know where to start. If you’ve ever wondered what the big deal was with dubstep or Klezmer, this will be your chance to find out.
Posted by Anonymous at 12:13:24 on December 11, 2012
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