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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Stuck for music ideas?

If you're ever bored with your own music collection and can't bothered searching around for what to play next, I suggest trying out Pandora -

Pandora is a web based music player. You start out by suggesting an artist or a song that you like. Pandora goes off and searches it's extensive music database and plays you a song by that artist. After this it starts playing music that it considers similar, related or something that might appeal to you.

Pandora calls this a station. What is nice about it is that you can add multiple artists to a station and it will use that to make its suggestions from. Pandora will allow you to skip ahead a track, but never back. The theory is that it will only ever play a song once.

After you have tried it out Pandora requires you to create an account to continue listening to music. This is nothing suspicious (I think it has something to do with whatever deal they have struck with the music companies), and to create an account you have to register as though you lived in America (probably to do with the music companies again). Easy! Make up and address and away you go.

Once you've gotten set up, you can start adding multiple different stations and teaching the system.

Teaching the system?

Another nice feature of Pandora is that you can tell it when you like or don't like a track. Just hover your mouse over the album cover to bring up some options. It is worthwhile doing this as it helps train the system. I have found that usually after an hour or so, it starts throwing some really random curve balls. If it feels like it's off the rails, just close the window and restart it.

Loving it?

If you absolutely love Pandora, I suggest getting "Open Pandora", which is a small desktop application that runs Pandora instead of it running through a browser. One nice thing about this is that it allows global shortcuts - thus letting you control it no matter what else you are doing.


Last thing to mention is that Pandora will give you a wealth of information about artists, tracks and their albums. If you hover over the album cover and click the up arrow it displays a menu that links you into information about the artist, track or album. Their level of detail is very good and you'll probably find out a whole lot of stuff you don't know. You can also use this function to buy the album from Amazon or iTunes.


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