Friday, November 21, 2008

Pandora (Kinda) Fails Me

I'm a huge fan of Pandora Radio, a web page that uses something called the "music genome project" to pick music for you. It's an ingenious system that takes a single song seed and, based on what the system knows about the song, finds similar songs and plays them for you. For instance, as I type this, Pandora is playing Greece 2000 (Original Mix) by Three Drives on a Vinyl. Pandora recognizes the following major themes in this piece:

techno roots
disco influences
use of modal harmonies
a variety of synth sounds
synth heavy arrangements
trippy soundscapes
prevalent use of groove

If I mark this song as a favorite, it will add these attributes to what it's looking for in the music it plays for me. It's a very cool system which, of course, appeals to the gamer in me. It's also introduced me to lots of music I'd not have heard otherwise.

Unfortunately, the variety isn't quite what I'd like. Most specifically, I'd really prefer a bit more oriental folk and traditional music. Both my big writing project and my work on the Moldvay/Cook/Labyrinth Lord hack could use with some Dhol Project or Dead Can Dance for inspiration. They've got DCD, but nothing from the Dhol Project, and so the channel I set up for it, called Yulunga Radio, is turning into a trippy techno thing, rather than the exotic rhythm machined I'd been hoping for.

Still, finding some neat music. If you haven't tried it yet, I'd highly recommend it.


Anonymous said...

It doesn't work outside the US. It does look like an interesting service, though.

Anonymous said...

I was a fan of Pandora for a while, but, would often get tired of it as it seemed repetitive and just wouldn’t play the songs I wanted to hear.

I recently discovered Slacker ( and love it. Similar idea but more stations based on genre programmed by music/radio experts, ability to make stations based on one artist or as many artists as you want and other settings to tweak like Popularity, Artist Discovery and Year. You can also request songs, heart or ban songs, ban artists and skip songs.

And, to your point, when you create a station, it focuses the song picks based on artists more than whether the song is similar to another song or not.

Also, they have a cool new portable device that allows you to take your stations wherever you go.

BTW - It's also free.