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Monday
Apr032006

Pandora & Rohdesign Radio

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.

pandora.jpg

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:

Rohdesign Radio

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.

UPDATE 2006-04-04: I've now added two more stations playing Electronica and Classic Jazz for the different moods I have when I work. Check 'em out!

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Reader Comments (3)

Thank you for pointing me to Pandora and thank you very much for creating and sharing Rohdesign Radio. I really enjoy your selection.
April 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Wegelin
I was underwhelmed with Pandora when I played with it recently. It did OK when I gave it a favorite Dave Matthews song - the music didn't thrill me but I could hear the connection between the suggestions. When I tried entering a song from the Black Eyed Peas it started cranking out all sorts of really nasty stuff. Yuk. They may be hip-hop/rap artists but that doesn't mean I want to get all "gangsta".
April 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfiat lux
Rachel, for the most part Pandora seems to do a little better when you add multiple songs (10 or so) to a station, at least in my experience. However it isn't perfect, as I often get bad songs in the mix that I have to "dislike" now and then.

I would be interested in knowing how they "weight" songs but of course they won't share that or someone will replicate it. :-)
April 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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