So you like The Black Eyed Peas but you’re looking for something new? You loved “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter and are in the mood for similar sounds? Enter Pandora.
Pandora .com is a confluence of music and predictive technology. Founder Tim Westergren arrived at the idea of The Music Genome Project in 2000. The project created a list of musical attributes, ranging from instrumentation and vocals to style. The Pandora website puts the Genome project to the test by asking users for a musician or song they enjoy. The site streams a song by that artist to the listener to confirm that song is typical of that artist’s style and next streams music by other artists with attributes similar to the selected song so the listener can hear new music based on known music with similar elements.
The interface is straightforward, and allows listeners to ask why a particular ‘similar’ track was picked as well as to confirm or reject a selection. The Black Eyed Peas are identified as having east coast rap roots, r&b influences, upbeat lyrics, and modal harmonies. Pandora chooses a piece by Stagga Lee for the listener, with similar east coast rap roots, melodic part writing, and electric guitars. Is the site right? Can it predict your musical taste based on so little information? Give it a try for yourself at www.pandora.com and find out.