Pandora (formerly 'Savage Beast') is a service that will automatically fill your playlist with songs that it thinks you will like based upon an initial seed artist and any ongoing feed back you provide ('I like this' , 'Never play this again'). It is similar to Last.FM in that it attempts to build a personal radio station based upon your listening habits, however there are some rather fundamental differences too. First, you pay for Pandora. It costs $36 per year, which is half the price of a subscription to somthing like Yahoo Music Unlimited. Second, Pandora recommends music not just based upon collaborative filtering of music usage (like Last.FM), it also takes into account the music content. Interestingly, this content analysis does not seem to be done by computational means, but instead real people listened to music and 'analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time.'

Its an interesting idea, but I'm not sure of the business model. For a few dollars more, I can get access to millions of songs that I can play in any order I want with a subscription service like Yahoo Music Unlimited. With Pandora, I can only listen to music that Pandora thinks I might like. This may be OK for discovering music, but finding new music is just one part of the listening cycle. When I find a song or artist that I like, I tend to spend a lot of time listening to the same songs over and over until I really know them. I can't do that with Pandora. (I can't even listen to the same song twice in a row).


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