Wednesday, December 07, 2005

If you must hear one thing today.

Props to Seth Godin for his post on Pandora. He described it as "Web 2.0 plus music plus affiliate plus free plus cool". I don't know what that really means, but this is one kick-ass project.

It is a service based on something called the Music Genome Project and the premise is very elegant. You enter a song that you like and it creates a station that plays songs that are similar to that song. Simple as that. Add to that a very very cool interface that shows each song in an iPod-like interface, intuitive ways to store songs you like, play-more-like or omit a particular song, and the ability to buy a song from iTunes. Very slickster indeed.

I created a new station with the song 'Big Yellow Taxi'. The selections they've played so far:
Fight Test by The Flaming Lips
Stone Cold by The Deuce Project
Your Every Color by The Train
No Man's Woman by Sinead O'Connor.

OK, this is real-time reporting folks. The thing stopped playing after the last song and asked me to register if I want to listen more. I did and the options are either go free with ads (like a real radio station) or pay 3 bucks a month. I opted for the free version.

Started where it left off and the two songs since:
Big Yellow Taxi by The Counting Crows.
Think a Man would Know by Ben Taylor.

Wow. The more I think of it, I think these guys are onto something. I mean, there's all kinds of stuff out there like this. But this is one of the few I have seen that puts everything together so well. There is an option also to add more kinds of music to a station to further customize it. Or create a bunch of different stations. Buy the songs you like. Or just go there and listen.

Vox by Sarah McLachlan
Grass by XTC

There's a little button that asks "why is this song playing?". Clicked and this is what I get: Based on what you've told us so far, we are playing this track because it features acoustic rock instrumentation, mild rhythmic syncopation, meandering melodic phrasing, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation and major key tonality.

That sounds like a load of foo-fie-ness, but I suspect not. How are they making these recommendations? They are based on the Music Genome Project and here is something interesting:

We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony.

Over the past 5 years, we've carefully listened to the songs of over 10,000 different artists - ranging from popular to obscure - and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time. This work continues each and every day as we endeavor to include all the great new stuff coming out of studios, clubs and garages around the world.

That's their secret sauce to create Interestingness (if I may borrow the term coined by Flickr). Take Pandora for a spin if you have some time.

"Web 2.0 plus music plus affiliate plus free plus cool". I think I'm getting it now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty awesome site - This is my new online music source.

08 December, 2005 11:54  
Blogger laserlikefocus said...

Yeah, I checked this site out a couple of weeks ago - pretty cool. However, it would be even more amazing if they could take a number of songs/artists/albums and identify common themes. I would like to enter Eminem and Shakira, let it figure out why I like both and suggest similar artists/songs !

08 December, 2005 14:16  

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