Pandora

A tip of my hat to Pandora.com for a clever approach to free internet music radio. If you sit at a computer all day, as I do, they’ve come up with a clever angle for listening to music you like without having to subscribe to anything, or find channels that approximate your taste in music. Pandora is the output end of the Music Genome Project, a years-long effort to catalog and tag all music based on similarity characteristics. After logging on to Pandora, you enter the name of an artist or song that you like, and it will create a custom “channel” for you, streaming songs that are similar in style. You can give each song a thumbs up or down, to further train the software to your tastes. If you set up an account, you can create multiple channels….and if you want a mix, you can have it shuffle through several of your channels at random. You have to be comfortable with the idea of a private company building a dossier of your musical tastes, based on your IP (and your IP must be located in the USA). I’m much more down with this than I am with iTunes sending information back to Apple about what you have stored on your hard drive, for its similarly conceived Genius playlist generator**. Another down side is that it is not a play-on-demand site (i.e. you can’t play just one artist, or just one album) but serves as a great way to discover new music and artists you may like.
**I suppose this could be tangent to the essay on expert knowledge vs. collective knowledge, closed vs. open source, Britannica vs. wiki….for this one I’m siding with expert/closed/Britannica.

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