Pic of the day: I couldn't have said it better. "Listen and be amazed!" At least if you live in the US.
I remember writing about this once before, but it may have been in an e-mail. Anyway, it is too good to let lie. Pandora, the front-end for the Music Genome Project, is freely available to all US citizens. Not to the rest of us, unfortunately, because people still divide the world in "US" and "them".
We can still run the demonstration, which lasts about ten minutes. Give it your favorite artist or song, and it will begin to build a "radio" program just for you. It will try to find a song with the same core qualities. You wote "like it" or "don't like it" or just don't say anything if you are undecided. Unfortunately after a few songs the demo ends, and you must register. Which is free, but unfortunately requires a US zip code. Now, US zip codes are not hard to come by; I have a couple on file belonging to friends with whom I have exchanged gifts. But it is kinda obvious that it is fake since any Net geek worth his 6-digit salary should be able to take a quick look at my IP address and say that it was definitely not American. A few seconds more and he'd be able to tell not only my country but my ISP.
Of course, the worst that could happen would probably be an online scolding. Well, actually I guess there could also be Lightburn. The Light sees everything and know when we try to hide the truth.
And of course we still have Last.fm, which also is a decent music finder and free. It is also international, and gives plenty of info about each song and artist, including purchase options.
The two "radio stations" are different, though. Last.fm uses the "wisdom of crowds" approach that several online projects use in some form, most famously amazon.com: "Customers who bought Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone also bought Eragon". (I actually did that, but not from them.) Last.fm has a kind of anonymized database over what tracks people listen to, which ones they skip, which ones they ban and which ones they add to their "Loved Tracks" station. After you have used Last.fm a while, it matches you to people who like the same music, and lets you listen to their music. And they to yours, no doubt. It also has tons of tag channels which you can dip into right from the start. Tags can vary from "Icelandic" to "female vocalists", but you cannot combine them at this point.
In contrast, the Music Genome Project analyzes each track for around 400 different variables, from the instruments used to the speed and timbre and major and minor chords and the gender of the vocalist, if any. It then picks music - no matter from where and when - that has the traits you seem to prefer, most of which traits are utterly non-obvious. Again you give feedback, which can be given independently for several different "stations". So perhaps you have completely different tastes in music when you are in a certain mood. That's fine, just make a new station.
What little I have tried of Pandora shows it to be superior by a wide margin. Which is why I'd like it to come to Norway. It certainly beats me coming to the USA, at least.
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.