More music

Several months ago I was invited to try out a new music service online called Pandora. It seemed promising, but I am such a cheap-o that I lost interest when my free trial ran out. Well, now I get an email that tells me there is a free version that is ad-supported. Thought I'd give it another try. So far, so good. Don't know as much about Pandora as I do Last.fm (see previous posts, especially this one).

Pandora describes itself as "a music discovery service designed to help you find and enjoy music that you'll love." It performs this service by using something called The Music Genome Project, which says in its description,

Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.

So whereas Last.fm groups songs based on actual listening habits of users, Pandora explores music by analyzing its "genetic" make-up. Either one is good for listening to some great tunes. I like Last.fm because I am able to analyze my listening patterns. I think I might like Pandora for discovering artists "genetically" similar to those artists I know I like.

For instance, when I created a "station" on Pandora by typing in Death Cab's "Title and Registration," the first five songs played were the following,
1. "Title Track" by Death Cab for Cutie
2. "Always Come Back To You" by Ryan Cabrera (I don't get this one! Fortunately Pandora offers the option to tell it "The station shouldn't play songs like this."
3. "Inevitable" by Damien Jurado
4. "Melt Into the Walls" by Pilate
5. "Lola Stars and Stripes" by The Stills

Not bad. Since I can store up to 100 stations I may create a few more based on other songs in other genres. I'll let you know. In the meantime, check it out for yourself. Enjoy!

[Update: Pandora let's you email a station to a friend. I emailed it to myself and got this link. In the email Pandora says,
This station plays on Pandora, a music listening and discovery service. Pandora enables users to easily create streaming stations that explore their favorite parts of the music universe. When you click on the link, you'll automatically receive a free no-questions-asked trial so you can listen to this station--and create some more of your own.
I have since added different artists and songs to the station profile so that the gene pool will be more complex. As I am typing this update "Lover Come Back To Me" by Dead or Alive is playing. The 80's rock!!!]

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