Pandora is reportedly in the final stages of creating its own subscription-based music streaming service, designed to rival Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, but that's not the only change on the horizon for the internet radio company. Pandora has also partnered with Questlove, well-known member of The Roots and Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show band leader, to produce a weekly three-hour radio show that will be broadcast online.
Questlove Supreme will feature eclectic playlists handpicked by the artist himself, as well as guest appearances from musicians, actors, and other celebrities. The first show will air on September 7th, and will feature Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph, with singer Kimbra also scheduled to make an appearance in a future show. Questlove (real name Ahmir Thompson) described the show as "the black nerd version of NPR," and told The New York Times that he goes through around 200 songs before an episode — a "commitment deeper than any girlfriend I've ever had, or any diet I've tried to stick to."
The three-hour show is called 'Questlove Supreme'
The various music streaming services are increasingly used curated radio shows to differentiate their products from each other in a crowded market where big-name exclusives are expensive and difficult to obtain. Apple Music led the way with its Beats 1 radio station, using well-known figures like Zane Lowe and scoring big interviews with Drake and Adele, but others have copied the approach. Last month, Spotify announced its own series of artist-hosted shows, mixing interviews with cult figures with music from playlists they selected.
Questlove says he was approached by a number of digital music services, but was drawn to Pandora by its hyper-detailed method for categorizing songs, breaking them down by hundreds of musical attributes. "I went in there to talk about playlists," he told the NYT, "and I ended up with a job as an equity partner." In addition to getting him as an engaging and knowledgeable host, Pandora can also use Questlove as a new ambassador for the company, using his status as a fiercely respected musician to give the company legitimacy, allowing it to engage directly with the music industry and present a challenge to existing streaming rivals.