Not too long ago, a few friends were gushing about the internet radio site created by the Music Genome Project called Pandora. I’ve visited the site once or twice before, but never really got around to exploring because of the erratic internet connection.
Wanting to fill my hot Saturday afternoon with soothing music (and after the radio features of Yahoo! Messenger and iTunes have refused to cooperate with me), I paid Pandora.com a return visit.
And I’m glad I did. The site’s design is clean, sans bells and whistles (in stark contrast to other internet music sites that have album covers all over their home page). The idea behind Pandora is simple. Acting as your “personal DJ,” Pandora plays the kind of music that you like. Cool! But how does it know what you like? Well, the site prompts you to enter a song title or an artist’s name. It then uses this bit of info to create a “station” for you that plays similar and related songs from its vast database of music.
I was in the mood for good mellow melodies, so I typed in “Josh Groban.” Naturally, one of his songs was the first on the playlist, followed by others that Pandora thinks is “genetically” similar to Groban’s songs (including “You Raise Me Up” in almost all its incarnations).
Much to my delight, I stumbled upon newfound artists that caught my fancy, like David Phelps, Russell Watson, and Adam Watkiss. My music library hasn’t had an infusion of new tunes in quite a while. So I took down the names of the interesting artists and made a mental note to hunt for their music.
Of course, Pandora’s musical ESP is not fool proof. I’ve had to click on the “Next” button a few times to skip a song that I didn’t feel like listening to (Sorry, Barbra Streisand – perhaps another day?). I expected an abrupt end to an unwanted song after I clicked “Next”, but Pandora accepted my rejection with class by fading out the song and smoothly fading into the next. Ah, I feel the love 🙂
There’s a “Guide Us” button on the Pandora player. I’m assuming this is for getting feedback from users as to why, in their opinion, a particular song does not belong to the “station” the Pandora system has created. I haven’t clicked it though.
Pandora has other cool features that I haven’t tried out yet. I’m hoping to spend more time exploring the site. Meantime, it’s good enough for me that it’s playing just the kind of music I want on this Saturday afternoon that has found me reading and writing.
Give it a try. You just might find some delightful treasures in this Pandora’s (music) box.