Pandora Wants to Play Ads Like Songs

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Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE:P) is putting the man who created its complicated and beloved music recommendation algorithm to work creating a similar function to better target its listeners with advertising, according to a report from The New York Times.

Eric Bieschke is responsible for Pandora’s uncanny ability to recommend songs that its listeners like based on their previous activity. He is now attempting to do the same by hitting listeners with specific ads based on what they’re listening to and when they’re listening to it.

“It’s becoming quite apparent to us that the world of playing the perfect music to people and the world of playing perfect advertising to them are strikingly similar,” Bieschke told the Times.

An example he gave involved travel advertisements. A user who’s listening to a different type of music than they usually do on a weekend may be given an ad for adventure travel in Costa Rica, while someone listening to their typical fare in the office on a weekday might hear an ad for a trip to Paris.

Pandora has already put this formula to work with political ads, guessing at its listeners’ political affiliations based on what music they listen to. Someone with a preference for country may be given ads for Republican candidates, while someone listening to rap or classical is more likely to get Democratic campaign ads, according to the Times.

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