Feb 2, 2012

Tips for Listening to Pandora on the iPhone

One of the first apps that many iPhone owners download and begin using is Pandora. It's a natural choice for a mobile device, allowing you to play music you would like but don't necessarily own wherever you are. It's also a great way to get introduced to music you've never heard, but that you are likely to enjoy.

After first setting up an account, the typical Pandora user starts listening by creating a station by choosing an artist.  Let's say our user is John Deaux and he chooses the artist is "U2".  Pandora creates a station called "U2 Radio" and starts playing music by U2 and by others similar to U2. From there, the John clicks the thumbs-up icon when a song plays that he really likes and thumbs-down when a song plays that he doesn't like. As John continues to listen to the "U2 Radio" station, it begins to adapt to his likes and dislikes and play more of the songs that he likes.

This is, I think, the average experience for a Pandora user. However, by just knowing a few tips, you can become a Pandora Jedi Master:
  1. Add artist and song seeds. To do this, tap the Edit button on your Stations page in Pandora and tap the station you want to add another artist or song to. This adds a little variety while allowing you to stay within the style that you want for that station.
  2. Rename your station. This is the one thing you have to do on the computer on the Pandora web site as the iPhone app doesn't let you do it. If you don't do this, all your stations will be named after songs or artists by default.
  3. Give each station a purpose and train it accordingly. This is probably the most important tip. Use the thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons in the context of the station you are training. Let's say you created a Country Music station and an Alison Krauss song comes on. You like it but would rather hear it when you want to listen to your Bluegrass Music station. If you say thumbs down to the Alison Krauss song it won't play on your Country Music station again but still may appear on your Bluegrass station. The thumbs-down is in the context of that station only. This allows you to do things like listen to a Classic Rock Workout station while you work out but thumbs-down any songs that are ballads, even if you would like to listen to the slower songs on your regular Classic Rock station.
  4. Bookmark songs you'd like to find and possibly buy later. Click the up arrow below the album art to get a menu that allows you to bookmark the artist or song.
  5. Share stations with your friends.  Once you have a station trained well, if you know a friend or relative that has the same taste as you, send that person the station. Just click the Edit button on the Stations page, choose the station, and scroll to the bottom. There you'll see an "Email this Station to a Friend" button. Your friend will get a link to the station, which when clicked or tapped, will send him or her to the Pandora web site, playing that station. If that friend does this on an iPhone, the Pandora web site will redirect automatically to the Pandora app and begin playing that station. Your friend now has a copy of the station you have and can train it further without affecting your station.

Do you have any other tips for using Pandora? If so, share them in the comments below.

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