For the past several months I've been playing around with a free, flash-based online music service called Pandora, which has you choose a favorite song or artist and then builds a music stream based on it. The stream is displayed in a browser window, or may be "minimized" to its own browser window, as a pseudo-standalone player.
Pandora is a very interesting use of flash, and is based on the Music Genome Project, setup to have musicians identify and categorize all sorts of music so that streams could be created using this information.
This flash-based player shows the station you're listening to, the album, artist and song info, volume levels and more. In addition to showing what's playing, you can also have impact in what is played in your "station" by providing feedback. This is done by clicking the album art and selecting, "I like it" or "I don't like it" which then impacts what will be played as you continue streaming tunes.
Just last week I thought it'd be nice to enter more than one artist or song to my stations, so that the stream would be built with a more comprehensive selection of music sources. Turns out this is was a feature of Pandora already — I was able to click my stations and enter multiple artists and songs. Very nice!
Further, I was able to rename one of my stations to "Rohdesign Radio" and then share the URL via email, with friends of mine who might also enjoy hearing the station I'd created. My station plays various artists, covering 80s New Wave, 90s alternative and other more recent music of this style that I enjoy working to (Snow Patrol, New Order, Radiohead, Travis, Stars, Doves, Switchfoot, etc.) . Here's the link:
I like that Pandora starts with and plays music I already enjoy, yet continues to present new music I may enjoy and may not know about. So far I've discovered several artists such as Stars, The Stills and Feeder. Of course there are tunes I don't like as much, so I've just "disliked" them in the interface — and as I've done this more and more, the tunes seem to get closer to my taste.
Feel free to check out my station, or create your own! You can't beat Pandora for free (if you don't mind the ads) or you can buy an annual ad-free subscription for $36, or 3 months for $12.