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Fun Stuff: www.pandora.com | Savvy Tech Tips

December 13th 2006

Fun Stuff: www.pandora.com

Computer Type: All • Level: Novice

If you like music, www.pandora.com may be the best thing to happen to you today. The site was created based on research done for The Music Genome Project, which is a long-term study of the essential attributes of songs. To date, the study has analyzed over 10,000 songs and broken down their essential elements. As the study progressed, the musicians involved realized that the research could be used as an excellent way for people to discover new music they liked.

pandora.jpgThe site is easy to use. When you get to Pandora.com, you enter the name of a song or artist you like. Pandora then searches its database of music for songs that have similar musical characteristics to your song and artist’s music. It then creates a “station” for you that will stream this similar music to your computer. As a song plays, you can tweak your results by selecting the “Guide Us” button and giving the song playing a thumbs up or a thumbs down. The station will alter the music based on your feedback.

This is simply a great way to find new music that you’ll like. If I hear a song that I like someplace, I’ll enter it into Pandora and usually end up discovering a couple of new artists that I enjoy. The site also makes for a great radio station while on your computer. You can create 100 stations, so there is a lot of room for creativity.

You might be wondering what the catch is, or how much it costs. Well, the news just keeps getting better.

First, there are two versions of the site: one with ads; one without. The version with ads is free. The ads are noticeable but hardly annoying. If they really bother you, or you want to support their project, or you’re just silly rich, there is a $36/year subscription fee that will totally remove the ads. With the exception of the ads, the two versions of the site are the same.

Second, you don’t have to download any programs to your computer, and nothing gets downloaded to your computer. The site plays in Flash right on the webpage, so chances are good that you’ll be able to listen to music right away. If anything, all you’ll have to do is download a free Flash player, which you really should have on your computer anyway.

The one negative, if you wish to call it that, is that you’ve got to create an account to listen to more than a few minutes of music. They ask for an email (for login purposes), zip code, birth year, and gender. In over a year of being registered with the site, I’ve never gotten an email from them, and the site seems very much on the up and up. I’d trust them.

Enjoy!

Relevant Links
Direct Link to Pandora
Read more about Pandora
Read more about the Music Genome Project

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