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RAIN 5/4: Laugh it up -- Pandora adds personalizable comedy streams

Posted on: 05/04/2011

10k CLIPS CLASSIFIED BY MORE THAN 100 TRAITS

Pandora has expanded beyond music to offer personalized comedy streams. The Internet radio service’s new comedy section includes 10,000 clips by more than 700 comedians. According to The New York Times, Pandora organized those clips by “more than 100 traits common in jokes, from basic themes…and styles of delivery…to broader categorizations of how comedians toy with logic and language.”

As a result, users can create custom comedy channels by picking a comedian, type of comedy or even a specific joke. Pandora has also created 12 pre-made “genre” stations (like “Working Class Comedy” or “Golden Oldies Comedy”).

“This is a logical step under the umbrella of personalized radio,” said founder Tim Westergren. Pandora has repeatedly expressed its intention to expand beyond music. “There is an opportunity over the long term to offer sports, talk, news and other forms of content in addition to music,” the company stated in their SEC filing (RAIN coverage here).

“It’ll be interesting when I find out who I’m paired up with,” comedian Adam Carolla told NYT (here). “There may be a lot of unintended comedy.”

SPOTIFY TAKES ON iTUNES; RDIO PARTNERS WITH THE ECHO NEST

As Pandora expands into new territory, so too do on-demand music subscription services Spotify and Rdio.

The former has launched a new service which will allow users to sync their downloaded MP3 playlist bundles to iPods. Free Spotify users can also now sync their playlists to the service’s iPhone and Android apps — a feature that was previously only available to paying subscribers. Engadget reports here how the moves may just “create some angst” for Apple.

Meanwhile, Rdio — a subscription service that is, unlike Spotify, available in the U.S. — has partnered with the Echo Nest so developers can create web applications that use Rdio’s licensed catalog of eight million tracks. You can already see the fruits of the partnership at recommendation service MusicMaze here.

SLACKER NAMES ISQUITH AS SVP/STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT

Personalizable web radio service Slacker has named Jack Isquith as SVP/Strategic Development. Isquith has previously served as senior VP of digital music at Warner Bros. Records and held senior positions at AOL Music and CDNow.

At Slacker, Isquith will focus on content development and monetization. “It’s a timely hire for Slacker,” writes Billboard, “as the company preps a long-promised on-demand streaming tier to its existing personalized radio options.” You can find more coverage here.

WEB-CONNECTED HOME AUDIO DEVICE SALES TO REACH $1B IN 2011

Sales of web-connected home audio devices will top $1 billion this year and will have a total active installed base of over 40 million units by 2015. That’s according to new data from Stategy Analytics. Total unit sales for web-connected audio devices — like tabletop Wi-Fi radios — grew 57% to 3.3 million in 2010.

“While we now have plenty of electronic devices that can play music files and stream Internet audio content, a dedicated and easy-to-use Internet audio device still has its room in the home,” said a Strategy Analytics senior analyst. Jennifer Lane has more coverage in Audio4Cast here.



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