I know Pandora.com has been around a while, but one of my co-workers mentioned it to me at lunch time, and I gave it a trial. The idea (in a small nutshell) is that you start it off by telling it a song or an artist you like. Then it picks succeeding songs based on attributes your first choice shared. I started by just typing in R.E.M.; their system picked “Stand” to start. Then it followed with Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life,” then Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ “The Waiting,” and then “Fall Down” by Toad the Wet Sprocket. I let it start the fifth tune, which turned out to be “All the Way to Reno” by R.E.M., before I decided I shouldn’t use all of my employer’s bandwidth. But that was five good tunes in a row, to me.
I’m curious as to whether Pandora would eventually get to Blue Rodeo from R.E.M. I’m also curious as to what happens when it starts with one of my singer/songwriter heros. This could be really cool. I’m going to have to set up an account when I get home. They have free, ad-supported basic accounts as well as paid subscriptions.
The underlying structure is based on something called the Music Genome Project. The people involved analyzed and tagged thousands of songs and created a very interconnected database. I would have loved to be on that team so much, it’s not even funny. I always miss the good stuff. Well, almost, because I can listen to the results and that’ll be good.