Pandora rocks!

Once again the connective power of the web comes through…this time I was able to reconnect with a colleague from the first days of the Web Development Kit (WDK) development effort at Documentum (now EMC), Tom Conrad, who is now CTO at Pandora Media Inc. (Blogging about Barcamp was the connection this time.) In the process of exchanging emails, Tom invited me to try out his new service. I have. It rocks!

One of my passions is listening to music, so Pandora caught my attention even before my invitation arrived. Tom described Pandora to me as follows:

“Pandora is a ‘music discovery service’ designed to help you find and enjoy music that you’ll love. It works like this: you give us the name of an artist or song and we instantly create a ‘station’ that plays songs that share musical characteristics with the artist/song you entered. From there you can fine-tune the station to your tastes by giving us feedback on the individual tracks we play. You can make up to 100 unique stations that play all kinds of music – Pop, Rock, Jazz, Electronica, Hip Hop, old, new, big names, and small acts — over 300,000 songs from more than 10,000 artists. Pandora is entirely web-based; you won’t need to install any software to start listening.

“Pandora is built on top of the Music Genome Project, the most ambitious, fine-grained analysis of music ever undertaken. If you’re interested in all the details, you can read more about the project on the site.”

I recall from my sabbatical how a service like Rhapsody changed my listening habits. However, Pandora respects my current habits and draws me into other artists through them rather than present me with a blank canvas like Rhapsody did. In this sense, Pandora has a more social appeal for me at least–kinda like the difference between and plain vanilla browser bookmarks.

The basis for this service also appeals to me in that it doesn’t appear to be driven by hype or by popularity. Instead, the objective analyses applied focus on pure discovery for the enjoyment of music as opposed to being concerned with other market forces that often fail to deliver the goods.

…will definitely keep diving into this innovative service. Nice job, Tom!

P.S. Four80East is definitely worth adding to the database–the only station that Pandora couldn’t create for me at present. :-)