While explaining something to my collegue about the mobile context-aware media recommender I’m working on, he told me to try out a customizable web-radio on the net. At www.pandora.com you start by entering one of your favourite artists or songs. The software then generates a stream of songs resembling the one you entered. You can then rate each song by giving it thumbs up or thumbs down. After a while, the site learns your music preferences and should only play songs you like.
The web-radio can consist of up to 100 stations, and each station can have multiple “artist seeds” or “song seeds”, i.e. artists or songs that make up the base for the song recommendations. When I first started using the site, I mixed several different genres into one station. Basically, I entered as seeds samples of all my favourite songs or artists regardless of genre. This was apparently a bad idea, since I mostly disliked everything it played.
Trying again, I made up several stations with only one or two seeds each, all stations representing different genres. As an example, I’ve now got a “groovy” station that after a bit of thumbs up and thumbs down actually only plays music that I like. I’ve also discovered new artists whose music I might even, hrm, “buy” 😉
Pandora also features a QuickMix station that mixes music from some or all of your other stations. Excellent if you get bored listening to only one genre. Try it out!