Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Opening Pandora's Box

Over the past few years, i have found myself disenchanted with the radio medium for a number of reasons. Whether it was the horrible local advertisements or the constant rotation of the "flavor of the week" singles, I slowly went from switching the dial to listening primarily to CDs and the mp3s. Of course, this has its drawbacks. It has become harder to discover new artists and keep up with the constantly evolving music world. Fortunately, the presence of satellite radio stations XM and Sirius have opened the doors of musical awareness to a whole new generation of radio listeners. However, for those of you who don't want to invest in the various playing units that support these satellite radio stations, the option of online radio is available for anyone with a computer. Enter Pandora.com.

Pandora is the product of the Music Genome Project, which according to the owners, is "the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken." The radio site is considered a music discovery service that enables the listener to provide input and feedback to create a customized streaming station that adheres to their personal tastes. Any song or artist that is approved of will spawn other songs and artists that are similar. In addition, the opportunity to pause and skip tracks is also available to the user. Thus, the ability to have a degree of control over your radio and be exposed to music you will probably like.

For those interested in trying out the station, there is a free version available. Unfortunately, this also includes advertising. However, I think the pros outweigh the cons in this case. If you wish to completely avoid radio advertising, there is a second track that is available by subscription.

To visit Pandora.com, click here.

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