Has Alkaline Trio found Pandora – or are they just that diverse?

Tony Alvarez
June 30, 2012

I
n this age of Internet radio, mp3 players, and satellite radios in cars the ability to find and listen to great music is everywhere. The many upstart Internet radio stations are thriving by giving the power back to the listener. One of the largest such providers is Pandora who, according to their website “have a single mission: to play music you’ll love,” [see http://www.pandora.com/]. Pandora allows a listener to choose a song, artist, or genre and create essentially their own station based on a singular entry. To be able to create such an incredible application, Pandora utilizes what is known as the Music Genome Project®.

The Music Genome Project is what Pandora uses to help establish playlists based on one selection. “Each song in the Music Genome Project is analyzed using up to 450 distinct musical characteristics by a trained musical analyst,” http://www.pandora.com/about. The Music Genome Project essentially focuses on a number of attributes which are then put in place to create a personalized playlist. The Music Genome Project allows Pandora to recognize and respond to each individual’s tastes. The ability to take a single song a create an ongoing, unending playlist is the sole result of the Music Genome Project, and through this listeners are able to rock or roll or dance or sway until it’s time for a new Pandora station.

All of the above, the background and Music Genome Project, bring me to the biggest issue and point I have in regards to Pandora, and that is the prevalence, regardless of the channel, of an incredible amount of songs by the Alkaline Trio. Formed in Illinois in 1996, The Alkaline Trio are categorized as a Punk Rock band, currently consisting of of Matt Skiba (vocals, guitar), Dan Andriano (vocals, bass), and Derek Grant (drums). Since their inception the band has released 8 full length records, toured continuously across the United States and Europe, and in recent years began to branch out into side projects and solo tours. Their distinct sound and ability to tour with numerous acts has allowed the band to grow and succeed in an ever-competitive industry. All of this is to say that Alkaline Trio has numerous connections and characteristics that no doubt are reflected within the Music Genome Project.

At this point I should note that this article is meant to highlight the consistency of Alkaline Trio appearances on Pandora stations, whether it is a punk band that has toured with the band, a side project, or a completely unrelated band, it is almost a guarantee that one will hear an Alkaline Trio song on a Pandora station. [_Even on my Katy Perry station? ed.] To put this theory to the test I chose a number of already established Pandora stations and counted the number of songs prior to landing on an Alkaline Trio song. The following is a brief list of chosen stations and tracks until Alkaline Trio is played. I am aware that a number of these stations fall into the genre of Alkaline Trio, but often they are quite early in the playlist:

The above is just a small sample of the incredible amount of Alkaline Trio songs that appear on numerous Pandora stations. The band has been able to cross genres, tour relentlessly and continually put out new music, which plays perfectly into the hands of Pandora’s Music Genome Project. There are undoubtedly numerous other bands who appear as frequently on subsequent Pandora stations, but Alkaline Trio is one that I hear almost every day, even those that I don’t just pull up on my iPod. While this doesn’t not scientifically prove anything, such as there is no such thing as too much 5-Hour ENERGY drink, it does highlight something important and great about Pandora. Their project, and their mission ring true, they bring the music that listeners want to hear, even if the listener doesn’t know exactly what they want to hear, which, hopefully is more Alkaline Trio. Not this listener. -ed.

To close I will present a Top 5 song list each week, this week Top 5 Summer songs as the humidity is making today feel like August.

tony.alvarez@brutalhorse.com
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