Review: Pandora Music Service

As regular readers of this blog may have noticed, I’ve dedicated Fridays to sharing some of my favorite musical artists. These regular readers may also have noticed that the majority of the artists featured hail from the era of the mid to late 1990’s. It’s a pattern that I’m very aware of. As we age we lock in things like haircuts and clothing styles and, yes, music. I guess this is a pretty obvious sign that I’m getting old.

But I’ll not go quietly. I’ll not turn into the guy who still has a beehive hair-do, I’ll not still wear the Zubaz of my youth, and I’ll not be the guy who leaves the station tuned to the KS95’s or KOOL 108’s when they finally get around to including 90’s music in their rotation. And just like I’m doing things like using modern hair products, exercising, and eating better, I’ve decided to work out my music muscle. Enter: Pandora.

They way it works is pretty simple. Type in the name of a song or artist that you like, and Pandora will create a radio station filled with songs that are similar to what you provided. It does this by using the data gathered by the technicians at the Music Genome Project (which is a pretty amazing thing in its own right). But the radio station customization doesn’t stop there. When a new song is played, you get a chance to tell Pandora whether or not you like the song by giving a thumbs up or thumbs down. The service will then take that into account when it selects the next song to play for you.

I haven’t found the next big thing yet, but when I do, the folks at Pandora are poised to help me secure the album. You can purchase the music from Amazon or iTunes right from within the Pandora interface.

There’s a web-based version at Pandora.com, and a desktop client, which is basically just the webpage based version in an Adobe AIR container. I’m not able to see any additional functionality or anything. It’s just supposed to save you opening another browser window. But it’s still in beta, at least on the Mac version, so maybe they’ll build something more in later.

There is a similar service called Last.fm, but it seems to be trying to be a social networking site built around sharing music. Which is cool, but (and this may be the age factor coming into play) I’m just not into it.

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Pandora

Last.fm

Zubaz