3 Music Genome Project

Music Genome Project

The Music Genome Project was first conceived by Will Glaser and Tim Westergren in late 1999. In January 2000, they joined forces with Jon Kraft to found Pandora Media to bring their idea to market.[1] The Music Genome Project was an effort to "capture the essence of music at the fundamental level" using almost 400 attributes to describe songs and a complex mathematical algorithm to organize them. Under the direction of Nolan Gasser, the musical structure and implementation of the Music Genome Project, made up of 5 Genomes (Pop/Rock, Hip-Hop/Electronica, Jazz, World Music, and Classical), was advanced and codified.

A given song is represented by a vector (a list of attributes) containing approximately 400 "genes" (analogous to trait-determining genes for organisms in the field of genetics). Each gene corresponds to a characteristic of the music, for example, gender of lead vocalist, level of distortion on the electric guitar, type of background vocals, etc. Rock and pop songs have 150 genes, rap songs have 350, and jazz songs have approximately 400. Other genres of music, such as world and classical music, have 300–500 genes. The system depends on a sufficient number of genes to render useful results. Each gene is assigned a number between 1 and 5, in half-integer increments.[2]

Given the vector of one or more songs, a list of other similar songs is constructed using a distance function. Each song is analyzed by a musician in a process that takes 20 to 30 minutes per song.[3] Ten percent of songs are analyzed by more than one technician to ensure conformity with the in-house standards and statistical reliability. The technology is currently used by Pandora to play music for Internet users based on their preferences. Because of licensing restrictions, Pandora is available only to users whose location is reported to be in the USA by Pandora's geolocation software.[4]


Intellectual property

"Music Genome Project" is a registered trademark in the United States. The mark is owned by Pandora Media, Inc.[5]

The Music Genome Project is covered by United States Patent No. 7,003,515.[2] This patent shows William T. Glaser, Timothy B. Westergren, Jeffrey P. Stearns, and Jonathan M. Kraft as the inventors of this technology. The patent has been assigned by the holders to Pandora Media, Inc.

The full list of attributes for individual songs are not publicly released, and ostensibly constitutes a trade secret.

See also


Further reading

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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