Saturday, May 06, 2006


I've been having a lot of fun these past few weeks with Pandora. It's free streaming radio that you design yourself.

Just go to, and start typing in artists and/or songs that you like. You'll start hearing music. Give the thumbs up or thumbs down, keep refining the artist selections and winnowing Pandora's tastes to match your own, and you will discover a lot of new artists and songs. You can even send your station to your friends.

The taste-matching process is a lot more sophisticated than the TiVo or Amazon matrices, thanks to something called the Music Genome Project, which involves professional musicians grading each individual song on hundreds of different criteria each. The evaluation process takes from 30 to 40 minutes per song, and the results are impressive.

Give Pandora a try. You can stream music from the perfect radio station: yours.


Sean Tisdall said...

I never realised how bad my taste in music was until the radio station, of it's own accord said that I should like a song by the Spice Girls. Thanks Pandora for ruining my one last bastian of self confidence. Also, Weird Science is a fun song.

Michael Markowitz said...

Well, give it a break... You can ask it why it chose that song, and ask it not to play any more like it. Thatr's how you hone it. As I said, unlike TiVo, it really does learn. I also like Weird Science, but do not like the Spice Girls. Even to my non-musicologist ear, I can see how it could take two guesses to land at that, don't you?

Sean Tisdall said...

I wasn't saying it was a bad thing. It's just that this radio station is incredibly proficient at finding new music that I'll enjoy and my friends and co-workers will sneer at. I do like it though, otherwise I wouldn't have been listening all day. Spice Girls came up after a couple dozen and I was bemused and it was that one catchy one whose title I can never remember.

And yes it does seem to get better with time. Sort of like getting a real time eye exam, for your ear... what would you call that?