June 29, 2009


It's hard for me to believe I haven't written anything here for over a month. Although I have had a few ideas for posting I haven't really felt that many of the topics were worth the time.
One thing I realized that I haven't written about yet is Pandora. This is surprising since almost any time I write anything at all some music is playing somewhere. So if you want to listen to some of my tunes while you read this you can go here. Feel free to leave comments on my stations or whatever. If you happen to like the service, sign up, create your own stations and let me know so I can listen in from time to time.
Now chances are you already know about Pandora. But for those who don't I'll explain why Pandora is the best radio in radio.
First of all, Pandora is based on a larger project to categorize songs and albums based not on some silly genre the publishers announce. It based on how things sound. Which once you think about it a little make it seem overwhelming in scope. Basically they have listeners rate songs based on something like 360 areas to create sound profiles. Then they place songs and albums in those profiles. In it mind numbing once you realize that these songs have to have listeners because a computer cannot listen to music yet, and probably won't be able to for some time.
How this benefits the users? Easy, you create an account and create stations around artists or songs you like. Then, as time passes you get to hear songs that fall into a similar sound to that song or artist. You then rate them with a thumbs up or down. Up means you like the song and want it added to your station. Down means don't play this song again - ever. It's sounds kind of meat fisted at first. But wait there is more. If you like the song but think it doesn't really belong on the same station then you have the option of creating a new station based on that sound/song. Or if you are only annoyed that the song is overplayed you can tell Pandora to stop playing it for a month.
There is more still. When I started I used Less Than Jake to create a station. After a few weeks I felt like the station needed more than just skate punk/ska. I added some heavier bands like AFI and Rancid. Then I began to hear all sorts of hard core punk. Some of which I really didn't care for. A few thumbs down took care of most of what I didn't want pretty quick. Then the service started suggesting new songs. It started playing Offspring, Foo Fighters and Nirvana occasionally. I liked it and gave enough thumbs up that now I get a good mix. If you really want to hear what a year and a half of whittling my station sounds like feel free to listen. I now call that station Lars Main Stage. It may not suit you but I listen to it a lot. It's my favorite radio station of all time.
That there is the secret isn't it. Pandora puts the power of radio in YOUR hands. You don't have to like the stuff they play on any station on the air. You can make your own. With enough time and attention you can veto songs you don't want to hear and approve songs you do. You can mix sounds on one station or make many. Right now I have one station that plays my version of rock, another one for some Neil Diamond and Paul Simon, another one for Genesis because I felt it didn't fit the sound of Paul and Neil, and another one that is pretty well just for the occasional Taylor Swift song.
Now I am sure there is a lot that could be said about Pandora. But I think we should just let the music talk for itself.