Thursday, May 04, 2006

I Second That

Terry Teachout raves about the music-recommendation service Pandora here. Largely on the strength of his glowing praise, I gave the site a chance, and pretty much everything he says is right on. The premise is that by supplying the site with artists and/or songs that tickle your musical fancy, the fancy software they've devised will decode the "musical genome" of your tastes and supply you with a stream of music tailored to your tastes, kind of a personalized radio station (the site feeds from both iTunes and Amazon, and of course will prompt you, if you enquire, as to how to buy songs from those vendors) . Of course, you can also provide yay/nay feedback on the songs as they are fed to you, and as with all such rubrics, the more feedback you give, the better the site will be able to ascertain what kind of music you'll like.

So far, I've been impressed with the software. The site itself, is very clean and functional, very well-designed and thankfully very not-busy. And the selection software seems to work pretty well--I fed it my usual suspects list of favorite artists (U2, Sting, John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Queen, Living Colour, Radiohead, Tracy Chapman, Aimee Mann, Rufus Wainwright) and, in addition to tracks from those folks it's been feeding me a whole bunch of music by folks I've never heard of, the large majority of which fits my tastes rather nicely. Sure, there's the odd choice I just don't care for, but by and large the software comes across as pretty savvy. And it seems like a canny move by iTunes and Amazon--as a Terry reader mentioned on Terry's blog today, the two companies presumably are also getting valuable data on the music you like, all the better to target you with when you visit their sites.

All in all, this seems like a well-run, useful, and all-sides-win venture. Give it a try.

Until Whenever

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