Happy In Bag

Thursday, February 22, 2007

All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt













Even in a room full of geeks I felt like a freak.

Last night I attended a "get-together" with Tim Westergren at Screenland Theatre. He's the founder of Pandora.com. Pandora is a free streaming music service that allows listeners to customize their own "stations." It's eerily effective at making new music suggestions. Even so, Pandora is a diversion of last resort for me. I only listen to my station when I can't be bothered to play a CD, listen to my iTunes library, visit music blogs, stream a radio station or check out a podcast. (Go ahead and listen if you like.)

While it was interesting to hear Tim talk about his company's development, I really wanted to tell him that I'm frustrated by Pandora's insistence on segregating styles of music on "my" station. My tastes include bluegrass, punk rock, bossa, and hip hop. Pandora insists that I have to hear five songs in row within one genre before moving on to the next category. I want to hear Bill Monroe next to Black Flag and Otis Redding next to Public Enemy. But Pandora doesn't allow it.

So I was astounded to find that almost everyone else in the room had the opposite problem. One woman was concerned about keeping her station purely religious. Another wanted to keep the focus on Leonard Cohen. And I was amazed to discover that most people maintain multiple Pandora stations. That concept never even occurred to me.

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