Pandora introduces customizable Pride and Black Music Month stations

Ann Smajstrla
Contributing Writer
View of the Pandora app, modes on a phone.

Online music-streaming service Pandora is introducing new stations and expanding its “Modes” feature to celebrate Pride and Black Music Month. Starting June 1st, Modes will be available for the first time on two genre stations: Qmunity will have a “Future of Pride” Mode, and Black Music Forever will feature nine new Modes including “Today’s Hip Hop” to “Black Voices Through the Years.”

Pandora first rolled out Modes last year as a method to allow listeners to pick between different styles of music discovery. When listening to a station, users can toggle to a different Mode to personalize their listening experience. Modes include Crowd Favorites, which plays songs that have received ample “thumbs up” from Pandora listeners, and Deep Cuts, which play an artist’s lesser-known tracks.

While Modes were previously only on artist-based stations, the feature is now available on the new Qmunity and Black Music Forever genre stations. Instead of being data-driven, the new Modes are “fine-tuned by Pandora’s expert curation team across genres, decades and themes,” according to a statement from Pandora.

Qmunity features iconic pride anthems from artists like Madonna, Whitney Houston and Abba. Its “Future of Pride” Mode showcases music from emerging LGBTQIA+ artists, such as Sam Smith, Kim Petras, and Troye Siva.

Black Music Forever, another new station, features nine ways to celebrate the music of black artists. These Modes are Today’s Hip-Hop Mode, Today’s R&B Mode, Pop Mode, Afrobeats/Reggae/Reggaeton Mode, Black Voices Through the Years Mode, 1990s Hip Hop Mode, 1980s R&B Mode, 1970s Disco/Funk Mode or 1960s Soul Mode. While Qmunity appears to have already launched, Black Music Forever hasn’t gone live just yet. This could be the beginning of a bigger expansion for Modes. Now that Pandora has shown it can make Modes work on more than just artist stations, we'll see if the feature rolls out more broadly in the future.