If you listen to any internet radio station, whether it be through your smart phone, your netbook, or a home PC, the odds are that you have used Pandora- but who owns Pandora Internet Radio? To explain, a little background on what Pandora does is needed. Where as many other online radio stations or music based websites tend to track music taste and trends by simple algorithms, usually involving drawing conclusions between what one person listens to and another person with similar taste listens to, Pandora uses a much more advanced system developed by the Music Genome Project.
The Music Genome Project may not sound familiar to everyone, but from the name you may be able to glean what it actually attempts to do. Like mapping the human genome, the Music Genome Project assigns a DNA-like vector to a song and bases recommendations off of that. The songs vector is made up of from between 100 to 500 "genes" which correspond to almost every conceivable characteristic of the song from the gender of the musicians to the type of effects used on instruments. This is done predominantly manually by a musician who listens to the song and categorizes the genes, which usually takes between 20 to 30 minutes per song. When the vector is complete, it is expressed mathematically and compared to the vectors of other songs using a mathematical distance function which determines how alike two or more songs actually are. When the listener shows preference towards certain songs or genres, this is the function that gives them things it thinks they might also like to hear.
The reason this is necessary knowledge for the question of who owns Pandora Internet Radio is because Pandora Radio, the Music Genome Project, and Pandora Media, Inc all go hand in hand. The trademark and the proprietary system of the Music Genome Project is owned by Pandora Media Inc, as is Pandora Internet Radio. Pandora Media Inc is a private company based in Oakland that was formed in the year 2000 under the name Savage Beast Technologies- the same year the Music Genome Project was created.
For the last few years, Pandora Internet Radio has been the main focal point and at the forefront of negotiations with the music industry, based on royalty rates, some have questioned whether or not the company will continue to be able to conduct business as the recording industry continues to demand more and more royalties from internet based radio stations than it does more terrestrial or satellite based stations. This is because of the large market-share that Pandora Media Inc currently has in the streaming music world. Whether or not misplaced corporate greed on the part of the recording industry will drive them out of business remains to be seen.
As a side note, the CFO of Pandora Media Inc is a man named Steven Cakebread, which is perhaps the greatest last name in the history of man.