Pandora was one of the early players in streaming radio. The platform was innovative and instantly popular among younger demographics. Walk into a collegiate library during exam time and it seems like every student has headphones on with Pandora turned up.
One of my favorite features on Pandora is the song recommendation algorithm. In recent years the algorithm improved with the addition of a machine-learning element (thumbs up or down for each song as it plays). My pre-selected stations (Notorious BIG, Beastie Boys, Machine Gun Kelly, Corey Smith, Justin Moore, and Bruce Springsteen) are a staple during running sessions.
While the streaming music is enjoyable, everything comes to a screeching halt when an audio advertisement plays. Not only does the ad interrupt the lyrical genius flowing from Biggie’s mouth, but the ad itself is rarely relevant.
As an entrepreneur I understand the need for ad-supported business models. Pandora needs to make money. As a consumer I refuse to pay to make the platform ad-free. Just my personal preference but plenty of people are obviously willing to pull out their wallet.
The ad interruption wouldn’t be that bad if they were at least relevant. Recently I have heard multiple ads for Amazon Mom and tampons. In the past I’ve had divorce lawyers and daycares solicit me. How that is related to Beastie Boys and Bruce Springsteen is escaping me. Through conversations with friends, similar reports of obnoxious, non-relevant ads continued to be uncovered.
Time for my conspiracy theory! What if Pandora was playing unrelated advertisements intentionally to increase their conversion rate? If you wanted to annoy the shit out of someone with mom and tampon ads, there is no better audience than one listening to Machine Gun Kelly. So Pandora annoys me and I convert to a paid subscriber – all is good in the world.
This is would be an epic (yet commendable) ploy on Pandoras part if true. I would even become a paying customer, as a reward to them, if the company came out and admitted this. The chances of us ever finding out the truth are slim. Each time an ad plays, you will become more and more paranoid. I’ve been doing it for the last 3 weeks. Apologies for driving you crazy in advance but suck it up and admit “They got me, bro!”
Do you think Pandora’s algorithm needs work or they are intentionally annoying their listeners? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet me @APompliano!