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Pandora’s new music charts mine social media to predict the future 

It’s been over a year since Pandora snatched up Next Big Sound. Today, we’re learning more about why the social music analytics company was worth acquiring: Pandora just unveiled three new music charts, which combine social media data with insights from Pandora’s own streaming activity to offer a fresh glimpse at what’s popular—and which artists are about to break. 

The Pandora Predictions Chart uses a “patented predictive algorithm” to rank artists by how likely they are to break through to success. The approach—which blends broader social data with native spins—is similar to the logic behind Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist, although not entirely: Spotify scrapes the web for intel about artists rather than looking purely at social media activity.  

How good are Pandora’s predictions? It’s brand new, so it’s impossible to know. But one place to look for clues will be Pandora’s other new charts: Pandora Trendsetters and Top Spins.  The trendsetters list breaks out the 20 up-and-coming artists that Pandora listeners are using to make new radio stations, while Top Spins is exactly what it sounds like: a list of the tracks being streamed the most.

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