Pandora has added comedy tracks to its personalized Internet radio service. The company's comedy content currently includes 10,000 "sketches" from over 700 comedians, Pandora explained in a blog post.
Pandora says it has a team of working comedians analyzing comedy in the same way its Music Genome Project analyzes the qualities and characteristics of music. "Now, instead of talking about 'minor keys,' 'falsetto,' and 'extensive vamping,' our comedy-analysts capture 'odd juxtaposition' (A horse walks into a bar...), 'misdirection' and 'spoonerisms' (a well-boiled icicle, instead of a well-oiled bicycle)," the post explains.
Not that Pandora needs to close the gap between itself and Slacker, but comedy has long been available on the competing personalized Internet radio service. Slacker also delivers content from ABC News and ESPN.
Why add comedy to an incredibly popular source for listening to and discovering music? The addition of comedy fits with its goal of expanding its audience. "We believe the better job we do creating a great experience, the more listeners we attract, the more they listen, and the more they help us grow through word-of-mouth," the company explains in the SEC filing related to its planned IPO. Notice the word "music" was not used in that sentence. Terrestrial and satellite radio have talk shows and news programming in addition to music. Internet radio can do the same.
There may be some early growing pains - at least for comedians who are also recorded musicians. After I created a Bill Hicks channel and listened to a track from his comedy album "Rant in E Minor," the next track was "Lafayette" by the McGee Brothers and "Fiddlin'" Arthur Smith. That song most likely came up because Bill Hicks is a fiddle player and founding member of the Red Clay Ramblers.