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 Savage Beast Technologies to bring their idea to market. 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 0 and 5, in half-integer increments. The Music Genome Project's database is built using a methodology that includes the use of precisely defined terminology, a consistent frame of reference, redundant analysis, and ongoing quality control to ensure that data integrity remains reliably high. 
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. Ten percent of songs are analyzed by more than one technician to ensure conformity with the in-house standards and statistical reliability. While the company was able to do some licensing of the technology to third parties like AOL and Best Buy for music recommendation, it did not achieve commercial success and nearly failed. In March 2004, Savage Beast Technologies received venture funding led by Walden Venture Capital's Larry Marcus to focus the technology on building its own consumer facing service. The new board was formed to include the remaining founder Tim Westergren, Bob Kavner, Larry Marcus, and Larry Kubal of Labrador Ventures. In addition to Tim Westergren, a new management team was recruited that conceived and built the Pandora Radio product including CEO Joe Kennedy, VP Engineering Tom Conrad and VP Business Development Jessica Steel. The company was renamed Pandora Media and launched Pandora Radio on July 21, 2005. The Music Genome Project is one of core technologies 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, Australia or New Zealand by Pandora's geolocation software.
The Music Genome Project is covered by United States Patent No. 7,003,515. 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 is not publicly released, and ostensibly constitutes a trade secret.
- Westergren, Tim (March 9, 2009). VV Show #54 - Tim Westergren of Pandora. Interview with Greg Galant. Venture Voice. http://www.venturevoice.com/2009/03/vv_show_54_tim_westergren_of_p.html. Retrieved 2011-06-26.
- Music Genome Project US Patent: No. 7,003,515
- Ike, Elephant (February 2006). "Tiny Mix Tapes: Tim Westergren Interview". Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- Notification email sent to Australian mailing list subscribers
- Pandora FAQ #79[dead link]
- "Music Genome Project" US Trademark: No. 2731047 United States Patent Office
- Castelluccio, Michael (December, 2006), "The Music Genome Project", Strategic Finance 88 (6): 57–58, ISSN 1524-833X
- Jennings, David (2007), Net, Blogs and Rock 'N' Roll: How Digital Discovery Works and What it Means for Consumers, Creators and Culture, London, UK; Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Pub., ISBN 978-1-85788-398-5, OCLC 145379643
- John, Joyce (September, 2006), "Pandora and the Music Genome Project", Scientific Computing 23 (10): 14, 40–41, ISSN 1930-5753, retrieved 2008-08-03
- "The Song Decoders at Pandora". New York Times. October 14, 2009. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
- "The Music Genome Project" — short historical statement by Tim Westergren
- Patent Number 7003515 — Consumer item matching method and system
- Inside the Net Interview with Tim Westergren of Pandora Media
- Interview with Tim Westergren March 23, 2007
- Interview with Tim Westergren about the Music Genome Project and Pandora video
- The first music of genes by Jean-claude Perez 1994 SACEM GEN0694