Pandora …

Whenever I leave the house … whether it be for 30 minutes or all day … I always have some “white noise” playing in the background for the dogs.  Living in a surban neighborhood, there are many sounds which are cause for baying off an alert.  While I realize the dogs are just doing what comes naturally to a hairy little sentinel from Tibet, I don’t need to be warned every time a car door slams or another dog barks in the ‘hood.  Thank you very much and, yes, I did hear that, and, no, they’re not coming to your house.  With spring’s arrival, it won’t be long before I’m opening the windows wide to let in fresh air … and more sounds from the neighborhood.  Having something playing throughout the house definitely cuts down on the everyday noises that set the dogs off.  Besides being alert dogs, they’ve also earned the nickname of “Tibetan door bells.”

Pandora's box ...

I employ this same strategy for myself at work.  Having something quietly playing in the background in my office allows me to block out the (sometimes loud) foot traffic and conversations in the building.  While streaming radio is great for this, I have no input as to what’s actually playing.  CDs work, but then I’m forced to have them handy and change out frequently on my CD ROM.  Enter the Music Genome Project through Pandora Internet Radio

The Music Genome Project®

On January 6, 2000 a group of musicians and music-loving technologists came together with the idea of creating the most comprehensive analysis of music ever.

Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. 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. It’s not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records – it’s about what each individual song sounds like.

Since we started back in 2000, we’ve carefully listened to the songs of tens of thousands of 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.

It has been quite an adventure, you could say a little crazy – but now that we’ve created this extraordinary collection of music analysis, we think we can help be your guide as you explore your favorite parts of the music universe.

We hope you enjoy the journey.

Tim Westergren
The Music Genome Project

Basically, it allows me to plug in an artist and then Pandora plays similar type music.  Once you sign up for a free account, you can set up “stations” … add artists to your station … give a song thumbs up or thumbs down (in which case you won’t hear that song ever again) … not in the mood for a particular song but still like it — simply advance to the next selection.  It’s also a great way to explore new artists in the same genre or find something totally new and unexpected.

Some of my favorite “stations” — Deep Forest, Gandalf, Mike Oldsfield (of Tubular Bells fame), Hilary Stagg and Omar Akram.  They have an exotic flare, are mostly instrumental and do not have to be muted if a co-worker drops by or when taking a phone call. 

Now, if I could just get WordPress to add a widget for Pandora!

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