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Are there any tricks to get Pandora to play a specific song you want to listen to?

I have noticed that songs that I use as seeds are usually not played on the same radio station. I don't mind that when you start a station it doesn't play the specific song you used as the seed, but I think that it's ridiculous how it goes out of it's way to specifically not play that song, ever, on that station.

Besides the obvious benefit of playing a song you like, there are also other reasons it's important for a song to play on a station, such as when you want to thumbs-up a specific song in order to narrow a station's variety.

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5 Answers

No, Pandora does not go out of its way to not play that song. The explanation is simpler - Pandora can play only songs for which it has distribution rights. For some songs it does not have the rights (usually because of the pricing for the particular song), so while it will create a radio station with similar music, it might never get to play that particular song.

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There are a few ways you can make it a bit more likely that your seed song will be played.

  • Select "I'm tired of this song" for most of the other songs on the station. This will make it much more likely that your seed song will come up. (But the songs you say you're tired of won't show up on any station for quite a while. Pandora doesn't appear to say exactly how long, but in my experience it seems to be several months.)

  • In particular, select "I'm tired of this song" for all other songs on that station by that same artist. On any given station, every three hours, Pandora only plays four songs by the same artist. (The page doesn't say that it's "per station" but in my experience it appears to be.) Removing other songs by that artist will keep them from crowding out the song you want to hear.

  • Choose a slightly different version of that seed song. Is there a live version? Has the singer done a version in another language? Choose one of those as your seed song and the original song is more likely to come up. (But your overall station will be slightly different.)

  • Obviously, if you ever manage to get that seed song to come up, immediately give it a thumbs up.

It's best to think of Pandora not as a play-on-demand music service, but rather as a music discovery service. It's designed to help you find new music you'd love if only you'd heard of it. Just this past week I went out of town to hear a concert by an artist I'd never heard of as little as a month ago, but whose music I discovered and came to know and love from hearing it first on Pandora.

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The Pandora FAQ explains their licensing restrictions. Among other interesting restrictions one is:

We cannot play a specific song or artist right away, or "on demand.

Perhaps this is part of the reason?

http://blog.pandora.com/faq/contents/25.html

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Pandora is NOT an on demand music service. It is more of a music discovery service where it will play songs similar to the ones you already like. If you want on demand music you need to go to an on demand music service like Grooveshark, MOG, Spotify, or Rdio. This is not what Pandora is for. Wanting to hear a certain song on Pandora is like asking for Pancakes at Red Lobster. If you want to discover new music - there is NO better service than Pandora though. The Music Genome Project is incredible.

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I have the same problem with Pandora. Sometimes I just want to hear a song right away, not 20 songs that may or may not be similar it. That's why I use http://blip.fm these days. You can "blip" a song right away.

What about a playlist? On blip.fm you can find out who else blipped the same song, and eventually you'll find people who have the same taste as you. You can then play their "blip list." The site has follow system very much like Twitter's.

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protected by Community Jan 7 '12 at 14:16

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