Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Music Media

Pandora Radio from Music Genome Project 200

kramthegram writes "The Music Genome Project, an attempt to define music by it's traits in a way similar to DNA defines traits in humans has led to the development of Pandora. Pandora uses the song choices you make to see what traits appeal to you and present you with custom radio station. While limiting you to thumbs up or thumbs down, the "gene" heuristics allows for a very quick adaptation to your musical tastes." Not sure how deep it goes, and I'm not sure I like that it led me from The Who to Styx and Def Leppard. But this is a neat little tool for discovering new music.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Pandora Radio from Music Genome Project

Comments Filter:
  • Hurray! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rbochan ( 827946 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:44AM (#14137991) Homepage 5&tid=141&tid=187 []
    At least this one took over a month.

    • Re:Hurray! (Score:1, Insightful)

      by grub ( 11606 ) *

      Yeah, I wrote in to the editors as well. It's pointless for the users to care when the admins seem not to.
    • Re:Hurray! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Spazntwich ( 208070 )
      And the saddest part is instead of the editors taking the marginal amount of time necessary to just delete this story and instantly post the next in the queue when someone is helpful like you and points out their foible right away, they'll keep their thumbs up their asses like nothing is going on and ignore the issue.
    • That's because... (Score:3, Informative)

      by sczimme ( 603413 )

      At least this one took over a month.

      That's because it was on (yesterday? the day before?), so the people that like to copy links from one site to the other thought it was new.

  • But (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Voltageaav ( 798022 )
    How useful will it really be? Sure, I like Punk, Alternative, and Metal. But the different bands have diffrents styles within the genra and I may love one band, but hate another similar one.
    • by unik ( 929502 )
      Like they call Tool "progressive rock", but every other band in that genre is embarassing.
      • ... I can't believe I'm commenting on a post about "progressive rock", but I agree actually...
      • Check out Dream Theater. Prog Metal that isn't embarassing... If you're into Tool and heavier stuff in general check out Train of Thought first. Feel free to shoot me an email if you want a streaming link. :)

        On topic, I was surprised when I put them into Pandora, it threw out a few bands that didn't fit with their style at all. That was about a month ago and I haven't tried it since then, and don't remember exactly what it showed me.

    • by unik ( 929502 )
      The Pandora site is actually fairly nice. I put in Tool and it played it, showed the front cover for Aenima, and played a few good sounding songs after.
    • Re:But (Score:2, Informative)

      by Troglodyt ( 898143 )
      That's not how it works, it lets you hear bands that sound similar, not bands within the same genre.
      So the label people put on bands doesn't matter, it's how they sound.
    • Re:But (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JesseL ( 107722 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @12:00PM (#14138147) Homepage Journal
      They have people listening to songs and classifying them by about 400 different attributes. They analyze the commonalities in those attributes between the songs you like and the ones you don't to provide more of what you like.

      What it says about what I'm listening to right now:
      "Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features a subtle use of vocal harmony, mild rythmic syncopation, varying tempo and time signatures, demanding instrumental part writing and a clear focus on recording studio production."

      It works pretty well for me.
      • Re:But (Score:4, Funny)

        by Phanatic1a ( 413374 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @12:26PM (#14138437)
        This does work pretty well. Right now, I'm listening to Norwegian Death Metal:

        "Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features vocals similar to cats being tortured, drum tracks with the subtlety of a wrecking ball, a bare modicum of musical talent, and a complete disregard for human life."
      • Re:But (Score:4, Funny)

        by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @12:36PM (#14138525) Journal
        Man, I do not like this Pandora thing, I tried to use it and entered "Britney Spears" as an artist and it said:

        "Based on what you've told us so far, we wont play anything, WTF! Britney Spears? what fucking shitty kind of music do you listen? get the fuck out of here!"

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I've been using Pandora for a while now. Although sometimes it misses badly, it generally gives you bands or songs similar on their 400 qualities. It does not go by genre, it goes by stuff like 'tone progression', 'emphasis on studio production', 'melody', etc. It does NOT go by genre or label. I've discovered some good artists with this thing.

      TIP: When you hit the max songs per hour limit, just start a new 'station' with another band/song you like or that was already listed.
    • Ive been usng pandora for a few months and find it to be The Best Thing Ever (tm).

      It took about 8 or 10 hours to get a good electronica station trained, but once I did the thing plays new music that I like constantly.

      I made some art rock stations, and those were much easier. My only real complaint is that it doesn't know more jazz and classical.

      • Yeah this is a really nice service. I'd really like to see them publish some sort of library that allows us to use this data in local applications. I'm thinking about something like itunes shuffle or amarok's dynamic mode. Pandora is much nicer than either of those, if only it would operate on my local files.
    • How useful will it be?

      n attempt to define music by it's traits in a way similar to DNA defines traits in humans
      "Your honor, we identified him as a terrorist because of his music-listening habits. DNA doesn't lie!"

      Wanna bet that someone at the NSA isn't thinking along those lines right about now?


  • So then... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pichu0102 ( 916292 ) <> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:47AM (#14138023) Homepage Journal
    Is it anything like Last.FM [], or does it run independant of other users? If it runs independant of other users, I'd say Last.FM would win in that category, because it's showing you what other people that listen to the same music that you do like.
    I think Last.FM and this have the same aim, recommending music you might like, but I think Last.FM pulled it off better.
    • Re:So then... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Troglodyt ( 898143 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:59AM (#14138138)
      Pandora and LastFM are two very different services.
      LastFM is recommending music you might like from a social perspective.
      Pandora builds on the music genome projects, and lets you hear music that actually sounds similar, not music that other people who like your music might listen to.
      It's kind of a double edged sword I guess, since you arguably get to listen to more new music through LastFM, but with Pandora you get to listen to stuff you would never have found through your social channels at all.
      • I guess this is the main difference between Pandora and other services, such as Audiogalaxy. Pandora recommends based on an analysis of the music itself. Audiogalaxy associates songs/artists by user recommendations.

        I can see value in both techniques. Pandora's technique will ignore "fashionable" boundaries since it's looking at a song's essence. Hence recommending Def Leppard as a previous poster mentioned.

        Pandora is certainly worth testing out.
    • I haven't tried out Last.FM, yet. I'll have to do that when I get home - I always love finding new places to discover music.

      However, I have been running out of luck with social networking type music recomendations lately, because they tend to just recomend music that I already know about from word of mouth (online and off). So I like Pandora, simply because it is different. The fact that it uses a different approach to link music means that I get exposed to different bands then I do using other avenues.

    • There's a fundemental flaw with the "People who listened to X also listened to Y" model, though!

      You'll find that people who listen to a song that's played on a top 40 station are likely to listen to other things played by that same top 40 station.

      Thus, rather than finding artists who actually produce similar music, you'll just get a reproduction of that top 40 station's playlist.

      This "Pandora" tool produces a lot more independant, underground results than the "People who listened to X also listened to Y" al
  • by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:50AM (#14138048) Journal

    ...Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

    Actually, it seems like an interesting idea. We all have libraries of CDs based on our likes and I suspect if the libraries were analyzed we'd find slighlty deeper relations between the disparate music we collect. I've got a very eclectic collection of music and I'd be hard pressed to see the link between Reba McIntyre, Pink Floyd, and David Sanborn, but maybe there is one.

    Of course some conspiracy theorist is going to use this to determine that the music industry is actually selling the same 5 songs over and over again, just in different keys and rhythms. Because we all know it's true.

    • honestly unless you are open minded most Cd collections are very closed spoon fed collections from the RIAA members. When was the last time you found someone with bands like feeder, Impossible shapes, and other lower tier bands that you do not find in the top 10 CD and music stores?

      It's hard to walk up to a record store clerk and say, "I like the band Cake. what do you have that is like this?" forst the clerk does not know and secondly they only have the top 1000 cd's in the store. Maybe there are 50-60 b
      • honestly unless you are open minded most Cd collections are very closed spoon fed collections from the RIAA members. When was the last time you found someone with bands like feeder, Impossible shapes, and other lower tier bands that you do not find in the top 10 CD and music stores?
        And if you really want to encourage innovation and sock it to the RIAA, start listening to the local bands. In a decent-sized city, it's not hard to find some group performing in local venues who fits your musical preferences.
    • Actually LivePlasma (formerly MusicPlasma) [] is more like six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Although LivePlasma is more like N degrees.
    • No way am I listening to Footloose.
  • Nice and Simple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by under_score ( 65824 )
    I like the user interface, but it would be cool if they would allow us to enter more than one "seed" artist. For example, I like Benny Bennassi, Patsy Cline and Rachmaninov. It would be cool to enter those three "seeds" and get some bizarre combination or mix of techno, country and classical. Fun!
    • If you would've actually UTFA (used the .... application ) for more than 5 mins you probably would've stumbled upon that feature. It's there, I promise, but now it's /.:ed so I can't tell the exact buttons to press.
      • Thanks for the tip ... since you seem to know the app, can I ask you another question? Is it possible to have separate 'ecosystems' for your seeds? Like, I listen to the Ramones, klezmer, and Anonymous 4, but I'm pretty sure I have no interest in anything that sorta sounds like a hodgepodge of the three of them, or even of any two of the three. Can I keep them from cross-pollinating, or do I need separate accounts?
    • Click on the downturned triangle on your station after you add the first artist, and it'll let you add as many other artists as you want. Not Rachmaninov though, they haven't done Classical yet.
    • I like the user interface, but it would be cool if they would allow us to enter more than one "seed" artist.

      You can enter more than one "seed" artist/song. Just open the properties for the radio station and add more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:51AM (#14138054)
    The best resutls come from submitting a song that you like. Using the Artist will most likely get you going down the wrong path. This is due to not all songs sounding similar from one artist. I have had the best results by putting in 2 or 3 songs that are similar to my ear that like. If you can't think of any songs by an Artist, Google it first. Also, there is a "rating" system. If you like the song, then give it a Thumbs Up, if you don't, give it a Thumbs Down. This will help your station learn what kind of music you are actually looking for. Rate the songs for better results.
    • Using the Artist will most likely get you going down the wrong path.

      You're telling me. I put in "misfits" and got all kinds of artsy techno crap. Though i did find a hilarious midi-ish version of skulls...which i believe is because they couldn't get the rights to play that song...
    • Personally I have a hard time rating songs because I get tired of them so quickly. 3-5 listens and I'm done. Further, I like variety, and while computers are good at pattern matching, I usually don't want to hear the same sort of songs continuously. If I could listen to new music every day and never hear the same song twice, I would.
  • Noooooooo!!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by j-tull ( 201124 )
    I've been loving Pandora for about a week now. Just this morning I thought, "Hmmm... maybe I should try to get this posted to Slashdot. I'll bet a lot of the Slashdot crowd would dig this," but then I thought again to myself. I said, "Self, why would you want to slashdot their server and rob yourself of this little jewel?"

    If you dirty buggers bring down this server... so help me steve...
  • It's a nice site (Score:5, Interesting)

    by n0dalus ( 807994 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:51AM (#14138059) Journal
    I do like the site, unfortunately though after around 3 hours of using it, it stopped giving me new songs that I liked; it just played song's I already said I'd liked, or songs I didn't like. One interesting thing is that is uses basic mp3 files for the music, so it's actually not too hard to download the mp3's directly from the server if you log the right packets.
    Pity they'll be putting ads on it (soon).
  • by sean.peters ( 568334 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:53AM (#14138066) Homepage
    ... I've given up. The Pandora player insists on using Flash local storage, which I had disabled. Now, no matter what I do with the local storage settings, Pandora just keeps telling me I need to enable Flash local storage. Following their instructions doesn't help.

    Too bad.

  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by kill-1 ( 36256 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:54AM (#14138076)
    A very similar concept that actually works is []. This engine takes the input of all users into account and really let's you discover new artists from the genres you like.
  • I love this site (Score:4, Informative)

    by MrP- ( 45616 ) <jessica AT supjessica DOT com> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:54AM (#14138086)
    I found this site yesterday from the fark link, thought it was stupid at first but once I tried it a bit I realized how awesome it is. Just playing with it for like 10 minutes last night I ended up finding about 10 new bands I had never heard before.
  • I once bought a highly recommended cd from Amazon, and it was the worst piece of noise I have ever heard (I won't mention the artist in question). But almost all the reviews were five starts and glowing. Finding new interesting artists which match your taste in music is a hard task. Could a classification system help to make suggestions?
  • Last.FM (Score:4, Informative)

    by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:55AM (#14138093) Journal
    I find Last.FM [] a better method to find new music. Granted, the new Player REALLY SUCKS, I used it before they started the new player thing. There is a Proxy [] being developed which restores the old functionallity more or less.

    Oh, that and the Pandora music project is not free:

    Q: How much does it cost?

    Pandora is available in two forms. Both versions have exactly the same features.

    The first form is an advertising-supported version which is entirely free. Over time we'll be incorporating ads into this version of Pandora.

    For those who want to steer clear of advertising, subscriptions are available in two different flavors:

            ANNUAL: 12 months of unlimited use for $36
            QUARTERLY: 3 months of unlimited use for $12

    while the is free unless you want a "personal" radio.
    • and the Pandora music project is not free:

      Nope, it's free. Based on your post, it works just like Slashdot. Have I had to pay money for /. ? Nope. Is it free then? Yup. By your logic, real radio isn't free because it has ads. Ditto broadcast TV.
    • Re:Last.FM (Score:2, Insightful)

      by thelost ( 808451 )
      the proxy is excellent and I truly love radio. the only complaint I would make is that the music selection when you select similar artists to any given artist isn't a massive collection, and quickly loops the same stuff again and again. more info can be found about proxy here too: []
  • Music-Map (Score:2, Informative)

    by Alef ( 605149 )
    The site is not responding (big surprise). But from the description it sounds like it is similar to Music-Map [].
  • It appears that giving it a song is a much better fit than giving it a group. Because a group is so diverse in the songs it plays (and the AI is based around the songs), it is really hit or miss... but if you pick a song you like from the group, you'll find a much better match.

    Go ahead and try it.
  • by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:56AM (#14138107) Homepage
    and now that I know C a little, maybe I'll try out making a plugin or something..
    I have lots of MP3s. I like most of them. However, I'm not always in the mood for all of them. There is very little music I've dismissed completely as bad, so "Thumbs up" || "Thumbs down" is pretty lame (,stupid, closed-minded, moronic, a horrible basis for anything, encouraging of the already prevailent general-dumbness of people whose music I tend not to be in the mood for, etc)

    What I've wanted is a system by which music can be automatically catagorized based not on whether or not I like it, but rather based on whether or not I'm likely to enjoy it /right now/.

    How this would work: Start with the standard "Shuffle", picking at random any song. Then, if I hit "next" right after a song starts, decide "This song doesnt go well with this other song right now", and instead try selecting one which my lack of hitting "next" in the past has indicated /would/ go well. (various probability weighting schemes, decreased weight as we move on, requiring much use before it really knows you, blah blah blah...)

    The closest I've seen has been plugins which weight the shuffle based on a rating you choose, which doesnt ever fluxuate.

    Point: Playlists should be quaint by now. Why should I need to choose in advance what I'm in the mood to listen to an hour from now?
    • I don't see how you'll ever train this thing. Unless there are consistent patterns in your mood changes, you'll never get good enough statistics. You'll just be sitting there skipping songs the whole time, instead of enjoying the music before you.
      Just have multiple playlists. Toss is some randomness if you feel like it.
    • That's why I like Yahoo's Launchcast service. You can rate music on a scale fom 1-5 stars, or even go into settigns to change it to a 1-100 scale. You can also create mood stations, but those are based on genre, not specific songs. I've been using Launchcast for some time and have rated over 10,000 songs. I suspect I'll be checking into Pandora from time to time as well.
    • Recommendation: don't touch that with C. At all. Use perl or ruby or python (in that order :P).

      I tried to hack something like that together once, where it would store its information as a set of associations (song 1 -> song 2, good; song 2 -> song 3, bad, etc.). The problem I hit with that (apart from the fact that I vaguely suspect my program had some sort of bug in it :|), was that it would take ages to build up an initial data matrix good enough to actually make a better-than-random guess at the ne
    • So what your are looking for is for someone to modify the winamp plugin from [] . You queue it up with your current mood, and then proceed with what you described above. If the plugin was open source I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to do.
    • I played around with Pandora a little this weekend. You can kind of do what you want with Pandora because it'll let you create up to 100 "stations".

      Each station keeps its own set of thumbs-up/thumbs-down votes. You'd have to create stations like "Relaxed", "Bummed", "Hyper", etc. and then choose your station based on your current mood, but it's better than only one playlist.


    • Actually, [] has something similar. You can sort through bands, songs or even genres, and tag them with a personal tag. So you could make your own "Party", "Happy", "Bored", "Depressed" and "Suicidal" tags - then go through your archive or the genre/band archive at and tag music with your own custom tags. Using the "personal tag radio" feature of the player you can then choose your mood and have the music to match.
    • Re:IMMS (Score:3, Informative)

      by spydir31 ( 312329 ) *
      you should try IMMS [], I think it does exactly what you want.
      it has no interface other than the player's next/prev and playlist, and is fairly easy to port in case your player isn't supported
      (there's only a small plugin that needs porting, currently supports XMMS and BMP)
      • I havent tried it yet, but from reading the site it seems to actually be exactly what is wanted. Or at least, close enough that it can be latched on to as a good place to start wild schemes.

        Just adds more evidence to the theory that "Anything I could come up with really is such an obvious idea that there's no reason to expect somebody else hasnt already accomplished it", hence the phrasing of my original post.

        Now where's that Instantaneous Floppy Drive and Vertically-Oriented Arbitrarily Groupable Timeline
    • so, Bayesian filtering of your music collection based on the recent history of your chosen/skipped songs?
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:58AM (#14138130) Journal
    Sue them!!

    -- RIAA

    (the funny/scary part is that it's not far fetched to me that they actually will, for being too accurate in handing out music a user wants to listen to)
  • by CupBeEmpty ( 720791 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @11:59AM (#14138139)
    I have been a happy (and donating) user of Last FM [] formerly Audioscrobbler. They do a really good job of matching up music tastes and their radio program is good. They also have a plugin that allows you to submit what you play from most major audio players so you can track what you listen to and compare with others. They have full tagging capabilities and extensive forums as well as music 'groups' of like minded appreciators. I have been very impressed and I admit I haven't played with Pandora much but it doesn't seem too much better/different.
  • [] (Flash application)

    I believe this is the company that does the related stories matrix on

  • by Anonymous Coward when you select an artist whose musical style is very diverse. For example, the first time this story was posted I went to the Pandora website and entered "Opeth". Anyone who's heard Opeth knows that although you can more or less call them a death metal band, their music is very eclectic and ranges from 70's prog-rock to jazz to folk music. Depending on which song from Opeth's catalog Pandora chooses, it's going to be difficult to match you up with another similar band. Although Opeth's music blends m
    • You've got that right...
      After searching for specific Fishbone songs off an album I was interested in (their best selling album, mind you) and not finding any of them, I finally broke down and just entered "Fishbone". The first tune was in fact, a Fishbone tune - a really funky, punk thing with a killer horn arrangement. The second, however, was by Ronnie James Dio?!?!

      I can't imagine how they'd followup something like a Tom Waits tune.

  • I use... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by casualsax3 ( 875131 )
    ...a combination of the iTunes store (trying without buying) and to hunt for new music. Pitchfork has a few recommended albums every month, I'll look them up on iTunes, and often iTunes itself has suggestions for other artists I'll like. It's been spot on so far and has let me to some great discoveries.
  • Nice idea, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by n0dalus ( 807994 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @12:08PM (#14138223) Journal
    As someone who has read enough books on music to know what they are talking about when they say 'We chose this song because it features x and y', I can honestly say this doesn't mean much. I think genre and statistical comparisons between users has a far greater impact on what songs it chooses than what they suggest in their FAQ/info pages.
    The whole idea of analyzing a song for different qualities is great, but it really doesn't get you very far with something like this. I can think of a million songs with 'Mild rhythmatic syncopation' and 'Major key tonality' (just an example of the reasons it told me it was playing a song), and I would probably only like a small portion of them. I suspect that the genre of my song (eg 'Hard rock roots' or 'punk roots' etc) is the biggest deciding factor in what it plays -- not the actual style of the song.
    • Why would they lie? (Score:4, Informative)

      by pavon ( 30274 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @01:00PM (#14138779)
      Basically what you are saying is that they are lying about how they choose songs. But why would they do that? If they were using social networking or grouping by genre, and it worked, why wouldn't they say so?

      Furthermore I haven't seen anything that would lead me to think that they are grouping things like you claim. Try typing in a band like Ween. You won't get anything that is remotely related by genre or popular tastes at all.

      One of the biggest things that I like about this site is that it does play different artists than I find with other systems that determine thier suggestions by genre or social linking (people who liked A liked B), and I have liked many of them.

      I can think of a million songs with 'Mild rhythmatic syncopation' and 'Major key tonality' (just an example of the reasons it told me it was playing a song), and I would probably only like a small portion of them.

      They are rating on hundreds of different factors. The fact that two songs are related by just one of those factors would not cause it to be played. It is the fact that it is related on a large number of those factors. And it isn't surprising that music within a genre share many traits with each other.

      I suspect that the genre of my song (eg 'Hard rock roots' or 'punk roots' etc) is the biggest deciding factor in what it plays -- not the actual style of the song.

      Again I don't see any reason to think this. I have found it rare for it to only play music within a specific genre, and to the extent that it did, the songs were all musically simular.
    • by whig ( 6869 )
      For what it's worth, I listen to a lot of modal music, most of which is considerably closer to minor than major, but Pandora seems to want to say in many cases (even Aeolian -- equivalent to natural minor) that such songs have "Major key tonality." Is this being determined by some tin-eared reviewer or is their software confused?
  • CmdrTaco, we all know the MGP doesnt lie. You should just admit there is a little Styx and Def Leppard in each and every one of us. The object is to suppress this tendency and desire lest loved ones get hurt by it.
  • I put in Kimya Dawson, Hank Williams, Public Enemy, Blue Oyster Cult, and then my machine crashed.

    Makes sense.

    I always dug Audioscrobbler for social recommendations, I guess it's operating as [] now.
  • by helix_r ( 134185 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @12:14PM (#14138275)

    I am skeptical of any algorithm that purports to gauge or classify taste. People listen to music for complicated reasons and they often listen to very different genres.

    A better solution is to point people to "taste-makers".

    I found by illegally downloading music using limewire, that I could find very interesting new music by simply broswing the collections of the people that were downloading from me. That really opened up my horizons as far as taste is concerned. I don't think an algorithm could come close to that.

  • try out []

    It has an interesting [flash based] visulisation engine that shows associations between artists and their peers. The interface is reasonably nice and quick to use. It seems if you create an account then you can create your own maps and recommendations.

  • If you couple the plain annoyance from seeing a story duped and the slashdoting that is going to inevitably occur, this dupe really pisses me off. I'm a subscriber to Pandora and as soon as one slashdotting is over, then it gets digged. Then digged again, then slashdoted once more.

    Enough with the dupes already! I'm looking at YOU slashdot and digg. I want to listen to my music in peace!
  • by AeroIllini ( 726211 ) <<aeroillini> <at> <>> on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @12:28PM (#14138456)
    You know, most of the media world is pretty excited about these concepts of "personalized media"... where the media that is presented to you is based on the types of things that you already like (it's just starting to take off in music, but watch for it in the future in television, movies, and internet sites). But I see this as somewhat of a problem, where people are never exposed to new things. If everything in our world is personalized and created specifically for our tastes, how do we define our tastes? When do we ever get a chance to listen to something we don't like, and say that we don't like it? Or listen to new things we've never heard of, and that may not be in any way related to our database of media we like, and say we like it?

    The situation presents us with two possibilities: either we get pidgeonholed into a "genre" artificially created by the content distributors (as broad or narrow as that genre might be), or our tastes enter a feedback loop, where the only things we listen to are the things our personalized media players play for us, whose choices are based on things we listen to in our personalized media players.

    So where do we get outside input? My suggestion at this point would be to do away with artificial genres and create relationships between media based purely on a database of what people like and don't like. (Last.FM does this now.) Then I would like to see the media player throw in a randomly chosen selection once in a while, just to test its own theory, so to speak. However, for that to work, the selection would have to be truly random; no fair throwing in something that you are marketing heavily (I'm talking to you, [RI|MP]AA...) just to get people to hear it. So instead of choosing music based only on your tastes, your media player will choose music based *mostly* on your tastes, and then throw you a curve ball once in a while to see how you react. Who knows? Maybe that diehard punk fan would enjoy a Beethoven piece or a 70's pop song. But the media player would never know that unless it tried.
    • Well, a truly good system will do both. You definitely don't want to get stuck listening to just one song. I would say a better system would require more than one song to figure out your taste better, as well as combine feedback from multiple users. As it is, it seems like Pandora is great for finding something that sounds damn near identical. Not the best system, but it's a hell of a lot more convenient than downloading random MP3s and figuring out which ones you like and what the pattern might be.
      • As it is, it seems like Pandora is great for finding something that sounds damn near identical. Not the best system, but it's a hell of a lot more convenient than downloading random MP3s and figuring out which ones you like and what the pattern might be.

        Point taken, but the best system would grab the random MP3 for you automatically, and just place it in the current playlist. I could envision iTunes, or a similar store/player setup, automagically throwing a random song that you don't own into the rotation a
    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )
      Also, the personalization algorithms don't even really represent your own tastes all that accurately, at least, not until they've built up a considerable database about you.

      For example, at one point in time or another, I bought some Star Wars-related product from This was years ago. But to this day, every time I go to, they are recommending me the latest Star Wars novel or toy or DVD bonus package or what-have-you. Just what is it about my buying habits that makes them think I like St
    • My suggestion at this point would be to do away with artificial genres and create relationships between media based purely on a database of what people like and don't like. (Last.FM does this now.) Then I would like to see the media player throw in a randomly chosen selection once in a while, just to test its own theory, so to speak. However, for that to work, the selection would have to be truly random; no fair throwing in something that you are marketing heavily (I'm talking to you, [RI|MP]AA...) just to
      • One more thing, and it's a rather important point supporting your original thesis.

        After only about 10 minutes, I found myself getting VERY bored with the sound. It was like the exact same song was dragging on indefinitely. I think their algorithm might need a little work, as it might be a little over optimized.
    • I've had this for years. The tool I primarily use is called Friends(tm) and this amazing tool offers restaurant suggestions, movies, musics - you pretty much name it. You see, Friends(tm), have a number of different algorithms that make selections that are quite different from mine in music, movies or whatever.

      There are other tools available too - Advertising(tm), Newspaper Critics(tm), Book Reviewers(tm), Magazines(tm), Festivals(tm) and so forth. People with good taste often use more than one.


  • how is this different from gnod [], other than having some bizzare split basic-free/premium-pay_for_service model instead of being free?
  • I have diversified tastes. The Who and Nickel Creek don't have much in common.
    Add enough different bands, and you get "we chose this for mixed instrumentation in a major key."

    Which leads to Backstreet Boys.

    What they need is several categories with a randomized selection from your multiple tastes.
  • Slashdot mentioned [] Pandora in October and linked to a good article [] in the WSJ that explains Pandora.
  • This thread is like an exhibit of "the worst of slashdot." I see people bitching because they might someday have to view an ad to compensate for the many thousands of dollars expended by this service. I see people bitching because it might select songs that are too diverse, and not in the same genre. Then people start bitching that this will pidgeonhole people into a genre and not expose them to anything new. Then there are people bitching because the web site design is not how they would prefer it. Fi
  • Surely you must have been joking?
  • by hqm ( 49964 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2005 @01:54PM (#14139283)
    The Pandora app was written using OpenLaszlo ( [] ), a free software rich internet application development platform. Why do you suppose they did that instead of using Macromedia's tools and runtime?

  • I have been a Pandora user from the early days of the service and I love it. The price is fantastic and I actually like that they are adding a free, ad-supported service for those who can't afford it; but, it is cheap. Keeping the stations in tune with a style is a breeze and I love being able to say "Hey, this song is cool. What else is there like it?" I picked up an old record of "The Ventures" at a garage sale, and now I have a station playing late-50's and 60's beach music type stuff and songs along the
  • Why, unlike, is it only available to residents of the USA? The internet is global, so should such a good idea not be usable wherever you happen to live?
  • Just Minimize or Bring Back The Music Player I wonder if anyone has mined Gebraltar ( or Gnosis ( and produced webs like music-map does? Feed that back into Pandora, that would be interesting!
  • ISTM that it's how the different attributes of a song interact together that gives it a 'flavor' that appeals to me. My tastes are very eclectic, ranging from swing to jazz to 60's/hard/acid/psychedelic/soft/(etc.) rock to disco to grunge to pop to.... as long as a song is exceptional.

    What kind of algorithm can they come up with to give me that?

  • I went to a talk a while ago about automatic music clustering. Basically, the researchers got a bunch of MIDIs — some classical, some pop, some jazz — cleaned them up a bit, and then used bzip2 to test them for similarity:

    From memory, to test two pieces A and B, you concatenate the files to produce AA, AB, BA, and BB. Then use bzip2 to compress each concatenation. We expect AA and BB to compress well (because there are obviously big areas of similarity). If AB and BA also compress fairly we

  • "So you like the Stones?"

    "I'm not really into classic rock."

    "Oh, I see, a Zeppelin man.. That's cool."


    "You'd probably like Floyd then!"
  • After experiemnting with Pandora for a while I noticed something. IMHO it appears to be 'leading' the user toward more mainstream music, which sounds like the stuff their sponsors are trying to sell. As I explored the offerings, the more I accepted, I found myself further from the Songs/Groups that sounded like what I was interested in. A couple of quick Thumbs Down would bring me right back on track, for a song or two. YMMV

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada