Pandora: Music Genome Project And Suggestion Site
Pandora, the online radio station that is driven by community input, is as ambitious as it is addictive, and worthy of its mythological Greek namesake. Named by ancient gods as the “gift of all,” Pandora has changed the way people think of radio, turning a one way listening experience into an interactive experience.
To understand the music suggestion site Pandora, let’s take a look at what happens when you reach the site. The first thing we notice is the load of the player interface, which can take a few seconds. The reason for the delay (an eternity for web users) could be the surprising depth of Pandora; from the genesis of the Music Genome Project until the present, each song in Pandora has been indexed, categorized, and assigned attributes (up to 400!), which provides the Pandora user a listening experience rich with information. Unlike some music recommendation sites, Pandora’s algorithm is based on an analysis of the music (some of those attributes we mentioned) which translates to well matched music – even across genres.
Once the player has loaded, we are given a few of options to narrow our radio listening. We can either enter a song title or artist in the Pandora search, or select from a genres. Whichever we choose, Pandora creates a “station,” which is theme of music. If you’ve created an account, the stations will be remembered. Once we have a direction, Pandora takes over, offering a track with thumbnailed album art for your approval. Songs, chosen by the Pandora matching algorithm, are played for however long you like. Now let’s say we dislike the song that’s playing, it’s just not our thing. Above the song thumbnail, next to the play/pause button is a forward arrow, which pushes the queue to the next song. To help Pandora match music more suited to you there’s also a thumb up and down for rating the track, visible as we roll the mouse over the album art. In between the thumbs up and down there’s a triangle, where things get interesting.
In case playing music by genre that’s keyed to your tastes wasn’t enough, Pandora provides more for the listener. Find a new singer that you want to know more about? Pandora has bios, album lists, and links to similar music one click away. Love more than one station and want to hear them together? Quick mix lets you combine your favorite stations to make a music mix that follows your interest. Bookmark both songs and artists as you like, and whenever the song is the one that puts everything you like together, you can create a station of it, which puts Pandora on the case, linking songs to it with its powerful engine.
Pandora is an amazing resource for music discovery, but it is important to note that Pandora is designed for that – you can not move back or replay songs. There are no playlists to create and listen to, and direct searches will not get you to the song you want. According to Pandora this is the price of extensive access to free music, and once you’ve used it for a while you’ll agree the agreements Pandora has made with the music industry are worth it. For the user that does want to enjoy the same music again, Pandora has information on which albums the song appears, and one click options to Amazon or iTunes.
Despite restrictions on direct searching, Pandora remains a powerful engine for the discovery of music, unlike any radio of the past. Recently they’ve also added videos about music and support for the iPhone and selected mobile phones (AT&T and Sprint), making them even more fun. To discover with Pandora, or to find other ways to find music, use the Listio search discover+music.
Next in this series: Musicovery: Music And Discovery
Listio Profile: http://www.listio.com/web20/app/Pandora/
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