Pandora Internet Radio

March 6th, 2009

As a research librarian, I must confess that I am charmed by search engines—particularly ones that can be customized or that can run nifty algorithms to tease-out related records or files to the query I have entered, often prefaced by such phrases as “find more like this one” or ‘find similar or related’ records. While a hallmark of such products as Amazon and other commercial sites, this feature is making its way into many of the libraries’ subscription databases, including Academic Search and Web of Science, among others.

Music fans, though, may be interested in the fun and free, Pandora Internet Radio site, where the site user can enter an artist or song in order to discover similar music as codified by the Music Genome Project. Essentially, each song in the Music Genome Project has been analyzed and assigned a set of attributes, fleshing out a particular identity for that song, be it by such attributes as genre, recording artist, instrumentation, vocals, lyrics, etc. Searches by a favorite song or artist/album will produce a list of attributes and similar music that you may also enjoy and can listen to instantly. By choosing “create a station” you can listen to selections of that similar music, as you would a radio station, thereby identifying other artists/music of interest.

Signing on to a free account enables the user to save and to customize his/her “station” of suggested music. See Pandora’s FAQ for more information.