I love listening to music, I have gigabytes of tracks stored on my Home Media Server but there’s a catch: who has time to look through nearly twenty-thousand tracks to pick out just the right grouping of songs?
Enter Pandora, a fantastic streaming music service which takes a song or artist as input and then creates a steaming radio station based off the musical “genes” of your choice (for more, see The Music Genome Project). It’s fantastically easy, and it’s free to listen from your computer. Try it out, you don’t even need to create an account to start listening. Genius!
The whole experience is really quite slick.
- Land on the home page and you’re prompted to enter a track or artist… no login to get started!
- Playing music to fit your mood is as easy as picking a song or artist. Let’s say I’m in the mood for some Yes, type in to the box, click “create” and Pandora sez:
- Sweet, what about the rest of the songs? Next track is Pink Floyd:
- You can rate each song, telling Pandora to play more like it, or not play that song anymore on that station. You can also look up why any song is playing if you’re curious.
- While it’s free to listen to on the web you can also pay a nominal fee for Pandora goodness on your other devices. For example, if you have a Sonos or Squeezebox you can pay $36 a year to stream custom, commercial-free radio stations around your house.
While Pandora is almost magical, it isn’t infallible.
- If you listen for a long time (several hours) you’ll start hearing repeats.
- Pandora sometimes seems to get its wires crossed… our Dixie Chicks station will occasionally play Corn or Guns ‘N Roses. Huh?
It’s also worth noting that Pandora doesn’t allow you to play any song you like at any time (like Napster), but that also allows them to have pricing more like satellite radio.
Now what I’d like to see is Pandora for my own music. Let me pick a track then have Pandora create a play list I can sync to my portable media player.