Pandora’s Treasure Chest


For those of you who aren’t familiar with Pandora, it’s a site that lets you enter the name of a song or artist into a search box and it’ll build a custom radio station based on the anatomical characteristics of that song or artist.

It’s known as the Music Genome Project; by “anatomical characteristics”, I mean that someone has sat there, listening to one particular song for an average of 30 minutes, thoroughly dissecting it.  They’ve taken notes on characteristics such as major or minor key, baseline, melody, style/genre, dominant instruments, use of percussion, and others.  And then they’ve taken the next step and matched up each song with other sister songs that share similar qualities.  Not only do the fine folks at Pandora do this for each song, but they also do this for each individual artist (although I’m less sure how), thus the term “Music Genome Project”.

After not having used Pandora in a while, I recently revisited the site and signed in.  I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but what I noticed, I didn’t like.  The entire “skin” of the site took on the theme (colors and obnoxiousness and all) of the ad it was showing.  They had always had short (15-second or so) commercial breaks, but it used to be every 6-7 songs or so, not every 3.  The worst part is, I suddenly started hearing about them limiting listeners with free accounts to 40 hours a month.  To add insult to injury, you had to pay a monthly fee for unlimited listening (which you could do before for free, to my knowledge, hence the addition of commercials, which I also don’t think had existed earlier), and even paid unlimited listening didn’t remove any of the commercials.

Needless to say, I was a little sour on the site.  Still am.  That probably won’t change.  But I did have a neat experience today.

A friend of mine with equally eclectic music tastes is also on Pandora.  She made herself a profile and a few custom stations that she shares publicly.  I didn’t know how to set this up, but I had an account, so she walked me through the process.  With her help I created an awesome new random station and thanks to her, Eclectique was born.

Sure, it’s nothing but a Pandora station, but still, it’s sweet, if I do say so myself.  I generally refrained from adding specific songs, because let’s face it: Pandora’s music catalog is limited as it is, and its interface and anticipation skills haven’t been perfected yet.  But I did add artists, and I thought I’d list a few below.  Before you ask, yes, this is all in one station.  Vive la variety.

Dire Straits
Los Aterciopelados
Gnarls Barkley
Maroon 5
Blue Rodeo
Thievery Corporation
Manu Chao
Death Cab For Cutie
Slaid Cleaves
Massive Attack
Ryan Adams
KT Tunstall
Zero 7
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Cafe Tacuba
Great Northern
The Gourds
Tragically Hip

I know I should’ve been more productive with my morning, but an allergy attack was setting in and because of that, what started out as a beautiful, energetic day turned into something bleak and fatiguing and I needed a little spark.  It didn’t make my allergies any better or help me with my to-do list, but it sure gave me a nice diversion.

Hopefully people will stumble upon it while browsing and it’ll do the same for them.

If you’re interested, you can listen HERE.


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