InfoPollution

November 6, 2006

Opening Pandora’s box

Filed under: Uncategorized — giantslor @ 10:10 am

I recently began listening to Pandora, which is similar to Last.fm in that it recommends music based on music you like. While Last.fm recommends songs based on community filtering, in Pandora does this by matching a song’s traits with other songs’ traits in a huge database. To start, you can enter an artist or song name, and it begins playing back songs with similar qualities, based on information entered into the database. You can create “radio stations” based on a collection of artists or songs you enter.

Pandora.comI attempted to create a “Postmodern Radio” station, using Frank Zappa, Mr. Bungle, Radiohead, Flaming Lips, Beck, etc. as a foundation. The results were scattershot– some of the songs fed back to me were the perfect aesthetic; others were way off base. (Mercyful Fate? Uh, no.) Pandora works better when you select an artist with distinctive traits. For example, selecting Portishead sets into motion a string of songs mostly with the same slow, trippy aesthetic.

I actually am using a Pandora/Last.fm mashup cleverly called Pandora.fm. On the surface it seems more the former than the latter, but it adds the songs you play to your Last.fm account so they’re saved for posterity, and you benefit from all that social goodness.

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