What Is Pandora QuickMix?

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Pandora is an Internet-based music streaming service that automatically selects songs similar to your original choice of music. It creates "stations" based on these choices. Pandora QuickMix merges several of your Pandora stations together to create more listening variety. Pandora rolled out QuickMix in 2006, and it has been part of the overall service since that time.

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Pandora is a music tool developed by the Music Genome Project -- a collection of musicians and developers. It uses a set of algorithms to sort and group music based on musical similarities. The project uses the idea of "genes" to categorize music: These are imprints within the music that give it its personality. So a song may include a particular rhythm, type of instrument, singing style, pitch or one of hundreds of other identifying features. You can refine Pandora's musical selections over time by giving tracks you don't like a "thumbs down."

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Pandora QuickMix

One of Pandora's original limitations was that a single station might contain very similar music, which can become a little boring. Many traditional radio stations play something of a mix of tunes, keeping the listener entertained through variety. QuickMix allows you to merge very different streams of music. Instead of Pandora's usual four related songs at a time, QuickMix plays one, and then switches to a totally different style. To use QuickMix, click the "QuickMix" button below your list of stations. This gives you the option of selection stations to merge.

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Pandora allows you to share QuickMix stations via the popular social networks Facebook and Twitter, as well as by emailing a link to friends. This doesn't provide exactly the same playlist, like sharing an online mixtape with friends, but it does include the same tracks shuffled in a random order. However, you can't combine a friend's QuickMix station with your own to create a new mix. You'll have to build yours from scratch.

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Users with free Pandora accounts are permitted to skip a track only 12 times every 24 hours. This is part of Pandora's licensing laws, which allow it to broadcast certain artists. If you have a paid subscription to Pandora, known as Pandora One, you get six skips every hour. In QuickMix mode, you get an extra six skips per hour -- making a total of 12 every 60 minutes. That helps keep your playlist fresh and lets you hop past any tracks you don't enjoy.