As the myth goes, opening Pandora’s box was kind of a bad thing. Opening Pandora’s site, on the other hand…a damn good thing.
I frequent so many tech/trend sites (digg, LifeHacker, Slashdot, Engadget, etc.) so I was rather surprised that Pandora had slipped under my radar. Fortunately, I work closely with college students, and not much that is techy, trendy, or flat-out cool slips under their radar.
Pandora is a killer Flash app that is an offshoot of the Music Genome Project, a brilliant database that categorizes the fundamental qualities of a vast number of songs—”everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony.”
You type in a song or artist that you like, it queues up a list of songs with similar qualities and streams them to your computer in their entirety. You can further nudge the app into offering up better suggestions. Everyone I have seen use this thing (myself included) is amazed at what a great job Pandora does at suggesting songs that appeal to an individual’s tastes—even my own eclectic tastes.
Many of the suggested songs were by artists I had never heard of before. You can just leave this thing playing for hours in the background. You can have up to one hundred suggestion lists (“stations”) at a time.
One immediate drawback is that my expanded exposure to artists I like will result in many more impulsive “Buy Album” clicks at the iTunes Music Store.