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The Politics of Music

1:02 PM, Feb 14, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Millions of people get their music through Pandora and this being the age when no data is left unmined, the preferences of this vast audience will soon be used for political purposes.  As Elizabeth Dwoskin of the Wall Street Journal reports:

The Oakland, Calif., company plans to roll out a new advertising service next week that would enable candidates and political organizations to target the majority of its 73 million active monthly Pandora listeners based on its sense of their political leanings.

The model isn’t all that elegant:

Pandora users who listen to country music more often live in Republican areas, while fans of jazz, reggae and electronic music are more commonly found in counties favoring Democrats, the company said. R&B listeners lean slightly to Democrats and Gospel and New Age listeners lean slightly to Republicans, Pandora said. Classic rockers like Bruce Springsteen and Hip Hop artists are harder to classify; they count fans in both parties.

But there could a deeper and more complex strategy at work here.  The ads will be unavoidable if you listen to the “free” Pandora service.  However:

Pandora offers an ad-free premium service for $3.99 a month.

An undeniable bargain.  

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