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littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Monday, July 20th, 2009 03:53 pm
pandora math

Interestingly, by rating so many songs played on my default Pandora stream (which is creatively titled "Radio Radio") that I think I've crippled the probability the algorithm selecting material I haven't heard yet. In passive listening mode (i.e., providing no feedback to the program), the frequency of new selections is maybe about 1 in 1000.

About the only way I can alter what I hear on Radio^2 over an 8-hour period is to actively plant new seeds, which I typically find by starting new streams, but this takes some time to do, and having to thumb-down a lot of stuff I've already indicated that I don't want on Radio^2.

Because Pandora's rating system is boolean, another option is to rate previously thumb-upped selections thumb-down, but this means that I won't hear those selections again unless I remember to change the rating back, or use the selection as a seed; moreover, because each thumb-upped selection functions as a mini-seed, this method would unfocus the algorithm's prediction of what to recommend for me.

Another option is by exploiting what I call the snooze function, which is to direct the player to skip the rest of the selection being played, and not to select it again for 30 days. My idea is that if enough selections are temporarily removed from rotation, the algorithm is forced to come up with new stuff. Of course, one can only skip 6 selections per hour ... and snoozes count as skips ... and apparently, if you snooze a selection after reaching your skip quota for that hour, Pandora ignores the snooze directive altogether.

Which appears to mean that one can effectively stop the algorithm from suggesting new material by rating enough selections ... which more or less defeats Pandora's entire raison d'etre, it seems.

If I listen to Radio^2 8 hours a day, I can snooze a maximum of 48 selections daily. 5 days per week, and 4 weeks per month at this rate means I can snooze 960 selections before the ones I snoozed on Day 1 are allowed back into rotation. Depending on how lazy the algorithm is, unless I've thumb-upped less than about 1000 selections, snoozing at this rate (which I think is probably pretty high, on average) might never increase the likelihood I'll hear new material.

I'm curious whether this result was foreseeable, and if so, intentional ... and if so, what the point would be.

Tags:

9CommentReply

obsqurity
obsqurity
owner of this corner, and not much more
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 01:15 am (UTC)
geek

hmmm. What exactly do you mean by 'alter what you hear'?

Are you looking for new stuff, within the guidelines of the existing genres?

Or do you want really new stuff? You could always start seeding it with some completely different genres, and see if you discover new things you like.


ReplyThread
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
Re: geek

Alter what I hear, in terms of increasing the amount of new content into my default stream. I'm looking for new stuff without particular regard to genre.

I could start seeding ... but by thumbing-up a selection, it functions as a mini-seed itself. As I mentioned above, starting new streams presents the problem of having to immediately start sifting through a lot of stuff I've heard, and thumb-downed, on my other streams.


ReplyThread Parent
obsqurity
obsqurity
owner of this corner, and not much more
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
Re: geek

Are you sure that's true?
I've started new streams, and noticed that songs that I "thumbed up" on other streams seemed to be coming in disproportionately. On that logic, you would think they would be blocking out the "thumbs down" tracks too. I suspect that those controls happen at the user level, not at the stream level.


ReplyThread Parent
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
Re: geek

It's been my experience that each new stream is independent of your ratings on other streams.


ReplyThread Parent
circumambulate
circumambulate
Circumambulate
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)

I don't know that I'm following - by being diligent in rating do you believe that you've just exhausted all the songs in their database that are potential matches for what you've indicated you like? I assume you're using artist seeds as well as song seeds?


ReplyThread
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)

by being diligent in rating do you believe that you've just exhausted all the songs in their database that are potential matches for what you've indicated you like?

Without adding more seeds, yes.

Adding seeds at this point also results in another phenomenon: Pandora seems to forget. I started Radio^2 maybe a year ago with three seeded songs, which used to show up in the rotation on a fairly regular basis, but now very rarely do.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)

Dude. blip.fm

Mah picks: http://blip.fm/PAgent


ReplyThread
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)

I'll give that a try ... and intentionally or not, you raise a good point: Pandora isn't radio, it's a suggestion algorithm.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)

I've been exposed to all kinds of groups I never would have heard of otherwise. You can control what you hear to some extent by pruning your list of "favorites" (i.e., selecting your djs).


ReplyThread Parent