Whatever you do, don’t open the box

Last week, Mike sent me a link to a cool music service called Pandora. It kind of scared me at first, because the email that was sent was one of those generic “Tell a friend” kind of emails, and didn’t have anything mentioning that he sent it. The email said something about someone creating a stream called “Iron Maiden Radio”, and I happened to be listening to Iron Maiden at the time. I was creeped out, and was partially worried that my workstation was compromised somehow. I talked to Mike the next day, and I was happy to learn that he sent it.

Anyways, what makes this thing so cool is that it can provide you with a bunch of music you may like based upon an artist or song that you enter when you load the page. Entering the artist/song creates a “station” of music that shares similar characteristics to the artist/song you entered. Each artist/song is classified based upon characteristics of the music, and the recommended songs are chosen based upon similarities to those characteristics. For instance, in my “Nevermore” radio station, I was presented the song “Unholy Confessions” by Avenged Sevenfold (which is actually a band I’ve been wanting to check out), “because it features hard rock roots, a subtle use of paired vocal harmony, mild rhythmic syncopation, varying tempo and time signatures, and demanding instrumental part writing.”

You have the ability to tailor each “station” by providing feedback on each song that’s played, so in theory, you can avoid stuff you won’t like. It will only allow you to skip over a certain number of songs per hour, and you have no way to choose exactly what bands you want to hear, but that’s part of the whole “station” scenario. It’s kinda like radio, but it’s much more focused on what you want to hear.

It’s a very cool concept, and I’ll probably use it a lot more in the future. Right now the Flash client that they run on your machine is not efficient at all, and totally makes my browser crawl. Hopefully it’ll get better.

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