Brown Paper Packages, vol 16

Brown Paper Packages, vol 16

I’ve been mildly obsessed with this week’s favorite thing for over a year now–it’s ton of fun, really entertaining and fully educational to boot. And because I spent a good (insert inappropriate number here) hours diverted by this thing, I thought it would be an excellent week 16 favorite thing–I bring you, Pandora!

The ever-alert blog reader will have already noticed that Pandora is one special link among many on this very blog, and for those of you that haven’t checked it out already, I urge you to do so. Pandora is a website made by the people who put together the Music Genome Project a while back, a project started by an ivy league grad who set out to “capture the essence of music at the fundamental level” by picking apart and catorigizing music using different attributes–more than 400 or something. It’s all very science-y, something that makes us artist types a little woozy. Like the mixing of church and state, but it’s actually much safer, and much cooler, and once you get your feet a little wet, I assure you’ll be exclaiming in no time flat, “Hey mixing music with scientific methods is fun, shoot!”

Pandora has expanded on the Music Genome Project and is essentially an internet jukebox of sorts, but here’s the cool part: you create radio stations based on a song or artist you like, and then Pandora will play, based on the attributes of the song or artist, similar artists and songs. And it will tell you why it chose the song, and you can give it a thumbs up (which translates to: play more songs like this) or thumbs down (stop playing songs like this). It’s all very happening.

You can create a bunch of “stations,” and a station is basically just the song or artist you use as a base. Right now, I have a few songs: John Lennon’s “Watching the Wheels,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Maps,”, Al Green’s “So Tired of Being Alone,” Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia,” and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” I also have some artists: Lou Reed, Neil Young, Queen and Postal Service. You need an example of what the hell I’m talking about? Okay.

So if I click on one of my stations, we’ll say Maps, then Pandora will play, for as long as I want, songs that are similar in some way to that song. Some songs you’ll like, and you’ll see the connection, others are more obscure. But the process is really interesting and it tells you why it picked the song, and how it connects. You’ll know some of the songs, but you’ll also learn about new artists, or long-forgotten, or brand new songs to you. So you get a very cool stream of music, like an uber-cool radio station without commercials that plays killer stuff. And if you’re in the mood to have a specific vibe of music running, this is a perfect way to go.

Anyway, check it out. It may be something like Tornado’s genre-depiction, you know, for music geeks only, but I think you’ll all find it interesting in some form or another.

Click here to take you to Pandora!