SAM SIG: Pandora: Architecture in service of the Music Genome project



  • The Monthly Meeting of the SAM SIG


    Presentation Overview

    Pandora's CTO, Tom Conrad, shares architecture and design lessons learned during Pandora's transition from an "infrastructure play" to a consumer software company.

    Pandora derives from the Music Genome Project, started nearly six years ago by a group of musicians and technologists to create the world's most sophisticated taxonomy of musical information. Working one song at a time, a team of trained musicologists has listened to and cataloged over sixty years of music. Each song is analyzed using nearly 400 distinct musical characteristics.

    For many years, the Genome was delivered as a "Web Service API" so that other companies could put it to use as part of their music offerings. Best Buy, AOL, Borders, and Tower Records all became customers.

    In August, the company set out on a radically different course when it launched its first consumer offering, Pandora. Imagine you're in the mood for "Box of Rain". Or Enya or REM. And what you really want is your own channel and your own personal DJ to queue up an entire afternoon (or week or month) of music just like it. That's what Pandora does.

    Tom plans to cover: open source architectures for scaling to millions of users, the choice to build on the OpenLaszlo/Flash platform rather than DHTML/AJAX, 'peer content' and 'authority' systems, the eye-opening realities of usability testing, and agile software development in the real world.


    About the Presenter

    Tom Conrad

    Tom Conrad is the CTO at Pandora, a unique music recommendation and listening service. Before Pandora, Tom was the VP of Engineering at Kenamea, an enterprise software company developing reliable messaging services for web applications. Tom has also held engineering leadership and architecture positions with Berkeley Systems, Documentum,, and Apple.


    Event Logistics


    Cubberley Community Center
    4000 Middlefield Road, Room H-1
    Palo Alto, CA


    6:30 - 7:00 p.m. Registration/Networking/Refreshments/Pizza
    7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Presentations


    $15 at the door for non-SDForum members
    No charge for SDForum members
    No registration required

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