The popular music recommendation service Pandora has just announced its proudest milestone today. It has been six years since the service launched and it has now reached a count of 10 billion thumbs. If you’re not already familiar, the service works by letting listeners thumb up or thumb down songs as their listening to help the service select what songs to recommend.
It is free to use and works like a personalized radio station, where your preferences determine what types of songs get played and yet you don’t know exactly which songs to expect. If a listener thumbs up a song that’s playing, the next song to play will be something similar, selected via some sort of algorithm based on the aggregated thumb ratings, genres, beats, etc. If a listener were to thumb down a song, it would stop playing and be removed, skipping on to a song that’s dissimilar.
The milestone was reached last week with the 10 billionth thumb being a thumbs up for the song “Ridin’ Solo” by Jason DeRulo. A blog post by founder Tim Westergren reads:
Of the many milestones we’ve hit over the past 6 years, this is perhaps the one that makes us most proud. We created Pandora to bring personalization to radio, to allow each individual to determine the sound of their stations, and to make it as simple and intuitive as possible. There is no greater evidence for us of meeting that objective than the ongoing engagement you have all shown in your use of the thumbs.
Recently, the company has expressed interest in expanding beyond music.