mm145: Revelations from Pandora’s music box

September 18, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

It’s no secret to faithful reader of this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© that we’re mammoth fans of (you can refresh your memory here, here, here and here to mention just the best instances — a Sequitur Service© of L-HC).

Today, an interesting interview turned up on with Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder.

The interview spans several interesting topics, including the state of musicians’ livelihoods today (not an idle concern for this writer whose No. 3 child knows that some day you’ll know his name).

newsmaker What will it take to create the middle-class musician?

By Candace Lombardi
Staff Writer, CNET

Published: September 18, 2007, 11:50 AM PDT

It’s an idea Pandora founder Tim Westergren thinks about a lot.

Between 100 town hall meetings and several sessions for seniors at this year’s AARP conference, Westergen has been campaigning for more Internet radio listeners for both Pandora and musicians in general.

Pandora uses the Music Genome Project, a tool that compares musical genetic codes of songs, to create personalized radio stations. You tell it what you like; Pandora plays those artists and others that have songs with similar musical qualities. With music from both big record labels and independent artists, listeners get more selection and increased knowledge about music.

So read about its history, Westergren’s analysis of what it takes to be a self-supporting musician in this country (spoiler alert: virtually insurmountable odds against — sorry, MUDGElet No. 3 — better line up a terrific day job!), and the current battles with the music licensing organizations over punitive fees, being fought with the help of Congress.

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Revelations from Pandora’s music box | Newsmakers | CNET

This writer remains an enthusiastic fan (in the original meaning: fanatic) of Pandora (ya think? the links at the top represent only about half of the references I found just in our own nanocorner etc).

The selection, the sound quality, the thin footprint (Lastfm requires you to download and install an executable file that runs separately when you want to listen, whereas Pandora runs very nicely in a tab within my Firefox browser) have all combined to make Pandora this listener’s non-classical music source of choice. And, when am I not running my browser?

What I respect most is the entire Music Genome Project. Most web business enterprises are pretty XML and CSS draped over a very straightforward financial plan (okay, some more fanciful than others, but regardless, one can always tell that the $ and ¢ and € are never far away).

Pandora is wrapped around a serious intellectual process, where it has analyzed zillions of artists and their songs in order to truly deliver on their promise: You’ve told us you like A; so now, listen to B, C, and D. We’ll bet you like what you hear.

And you know what? In this closet-pop music fan’s case, it seems to work, more often by far than not.

I’ve had one glass of wine tonight — it would probably take the entire bottle to loosen MUDGE up enough to disclose how pop is his pop — so don’t ask what I’m listening to.

But, if you haven’t tried Pandora yet — why not?

I’m awed.

It’s it for now. Thanks,