Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thing 23 - Pandora or NPR, Apples or Oranges

Who does not dream of their own radio station: no commercials, silly jokes or title rotation lists to spoil your day, just the songs and voices you want to hear... Looks like Pandora takes this dream and makes it real. One could only hope nothing evil (i.e. copyright lawsuits) comes out of this box... I created my own station and was poking around while listening to a pretty good selection of artists (I only chose one, the others were provided by, I guess, association). I really liked how they link artists to wikipedia entries, display their biographies and discographies, and often surprise you with nice music you've never heard before. There is a thumbs up/down feature, and when you rate a song, Pandora promises to consider your ranking for their future selection. I almost felt sorry to see their pledge not to play this song ever again, when I down rated something. I've only tried "my station" for a day: so far it has been a very pleasant experience. They always start with the title artist (different song every time though), and continue down their association chain. My only confusion is that I am only getting female voices having chosen the female artist in the begining. Is the logic there that people only listen to either/or? I guess I will need to create another station with my favorite male singer in the title to get "a second opinion".

Well, it is not easy to compare my Pandora station to WBUR Listen Live broadcasts, but let me try :) Put all authority, schedule, and predictability aside, I imagine the day will come when each of us has a say in the NPR's streamline radio choice of programs. We'll be mixing, sampling and rating programs and ancors, creating our own "ideal" NPR radio. We already have been asked to provide our own stories. Plus, there are Our Space, Talk to Us, and Radio Twitt where you are given a chance to interact with WBUR through forums, chats, feedback, and your own news. So one might be musical and personal, while another is wordly and national, but the similarities are striking. It is always there when you need it, and you don't have to do anyting to enjoy the stream. One button to press and the sound never ends...

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