Your Own Personalized Radio Station

Ok, I’m purely throwing this in here because I think that someone with an idea this cool deserves as much publicity and attention as they can get. I guess that’s kind of my point in having a blog at all is to highlight the things I think are cool.

Pandora is an internet-based business designed to help music lovers stay in touch with music. You go to their site, enter the name of an artist or a song that you really love, their computer analyzes this artist and/or song against all sorts of criteria (everything from the timbre of the vocals, to the style of the guitar being played in the background and more) and put together a playlist (which they call for you of similar music that they think you’ll love.

Today, I entered “Boogie on Reggae Woman” by Stevie Wonder. The first thing that Pandora did was to play “Happier Than the Morning Sun” by Stevie Wonder (they explained why they didn’t give me the gratification of playing the song I wanted to hear… which I didn’t read because I was over here typing my blog… but I do intend to question them on that… but only after I’ve judged their service after 10 hours of free music.

The things I already like… if for example a song makes it onto my radio station that I completely don’t like, I can click to have it removed from my “station” and they will (hopefully) adjust their algorhythm to know that song was not a good connection (I’m not yet sure if they’ll do this just for me or not or if it would happen globally).

(Second song “I’ve Made Love to You a Thousand Times” by Smokey Robinson – and again I missed their rationale for selecting it for me. But I think it’s really cool that they do that.)
The other thing I really like about them is that they employ musicians (according the the article I read in Fast Company by Linda Tischler) to help them break down the music into “genomes.” Someone actually gets paid to listen to thousands upon thousands of CDs (my dream job) and break the music down for the database.

(Third song “Jagger the Dagger” by Eugene McDaniels. Which was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, making it doubly appropriate for my station).

The other thing I really like is their interface. Very user friendly…

Well worth checking out, already. I was just thinking that I am tired of all of the music I’ve loaded into my computer. It’s all stuff I’ve owned for years and just ripped into iTunes so that I could have some stuff to bang at work while I do my job.

Some things for Pandora to think about… the one problem I have with digital music services is that they are all based on computers and/or iPods. One of the main places I listen to music is in the car. It’s a proving ground for the music I make, and the best personal listening space I have. The other main place I listen to music is in my house. I wonder if Pandora could create relationships with a satellite radio service, making it possible for me to port their music into my car stereo (not that I have satellite radio, but it’s an interesting thought). In essence, how do we get the music away from the computer????

Nonetheless, after only 12 minutes of listening, I’m already a huge fan. Thanks Pandora, keep up the good work!

Followup: How Pandora Picks songs

Ok… so I found in the Pandora interface that you can click on “Guide Us” and that’s where you can choose the following:

“I love this song, play more like it”
“I don’t like this song, don’t play more like it”
“Why was this song chosen”


“I want to add more kinds of music to this station”

If you click on “Why was this song chosen” you can get that selection criteria I kept missing in my original post.

So for example, “Land of La La” by Stevie Wonder was selected for me because

“Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this track because it features electronica influences, a subtle use of vocal harmony, repetetive melodic phrasing, groove based composition and techno synths.”

Oh, and Pandora also features links to Amazon and iTunes music store if you want to buy the music.

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