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Published on September 3rd, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz


Steve Keller On Life As Pandora’s Sonic Strategy Director, Sound, Science & His Career Journey

Pandora is a leading music and podcast discovery platform, providing a highly-personalized listening experience to approximately 70 million users each month with its proprietary Music Genome Project and Podcast Genome Project technology — whether at home or on the go — through its mobile app, the web, and integrations with more than 2,000 connected products. As the largest streaming music provider in the U.S., with an industry-leading digital audio advertising platform, Pandora connects listeners with the audio entertainment they love. Pandora is a subsidiary of Sirius XM Holdings Inc., and together, Pandora and SiriusXM have created the world’s largest audio entertainment company.

Just in time to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the beloved classic The Wizard Of Oz last month, Pandora has unveiled Somewhere Over the Rainbow: The Science Of Sound & Color, a collection of seven color-inspired playlists (ROYGBIV). Along the same vein of how artists like Billie Eilish, Pharrell and Lorde have synesthesia — when you experience one of your senses through another, like hearing music and seeing colors/shapes) — listeners can now hear (and see) the difference between music associated with brighter colors like red and yellow, and darker colors like blue and indigo.

These playlists draw from the science of “crossmodalism,” a growing field of research that examines the ways that various sensory stimuli can alter perception of the world and our experiences in it. For example, you will find that some colors — like orange and violet — may play with the nuance of sonic colors: orange being a little more relaxed in tempo than red and yellow, and not as bright sonically; violet is in similar tempo territory to indigo, but higher in pitch, as violet tends to be perceived as a brighter color than indigo. Very deep stuff there to say the absolute least, people.

To learn more about Pandora’s past, present and future, and also about how music is a whole lot more complex than many realize, I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Keller, Pandora’s Sonic Strategy Director, Studio Resonate. As embedded below, my conversation with Keller was recorded via Zoom on September 3, 2020. More on Pandora can be found online by visiting,, and/or

What does "red" sound like? Steve Keller explains crossmodalism, and hacking sensory perception:

Posted by Pandora for Brands on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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