Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Pandora - customized streaming music goodness

Earlier today I listened to episode 6 of the Inside the Net podcast in which the hosts interview the founder of Pandora. Here's how a TechCrunch post describes the site:
If you don’t agree that this is the coolest application you’ve seen in a long while, re-read this post over and over until you agree, because you are wrong. I am in love with Pandora.
No, wait, that's not very useful; accurate, but not useful. It's a streaming music application with a great recommendation engine, or, as my wife said when I described it to her: "the ultimate mix tape."

You create a "station" by suggesting a single artist or song and the Pandora application streams more music to you based on the data from the "Music Genome Project". As described in the podcast, Pandora employs trained musicians to analyze individual songs for some 400 attributes. From this, their recommendation engine suggests new songs for you to listen to. So, rather than relying on popular songs recommended by other users, it attempts to make recommendations based on musical qualities. You can also give some hints by explicitly giving a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to a song or by offering additional artists or songs as representative of the curent station.

About six or seven songs into my first station, seeded initially with R.E.M. and a similar band, The Feelies, it has produced mixed results -- good suggestions with songs from Collective Soul, The Cult, and Man Break, but off the mark with Iron Maiden and Poison. After giving the thumbs down to those last two, the quality picked up. Later I tried a couple different stations with different types of music. Again, I gave thumbs up and thumbs down a little bit and the selection of music improved.

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2 comments:

Robert Wilson said...

I'm really impressed with this Pandora thing. I especially like clicking on "Why did we play this song?" and getting a description of the music instead of just a "you like artists that the fans of this artist like".

Bye bye Yahoo music, hello Pandora.

Irakli said...

Pandora is awesome! Thanks for pointing to it. I love it. Everybody I showed it to loved it.

Very cool.