Pandora and Squeezebox!

OK, so this is a blatant endorsement of a pair of technologies that I recently discovered that has absolutely changed the way I listen to music. The best news is that you can have one of them for free if you only listen to music on your computer.

Pandora is the rather ingenious software technology that uses the Music Genome Project to deliver songs that you are likely to enjoy in an internet radio station you define. The Music Genome Project has defined about 400 “genes” that can describe a song, and then tags songs (about a bazillion songs so far!) with the relevant genes. You seed a station with either an artist or a song, or a combination thereof. As you listen to the station, you can give a thumbs up or thumbs down, or add or delete seeds. The station learns your tastes, and grows.

I have one station (you can define 100, plus share stations with others) called “Sultry Women” that was seeded with Diana Krall and Sophie Milman, and has been refined with a dozen or so thumbs up and down. Some of its genes are light drumming, acoustic piano accompaniment, breathy vocals, brazilian rhythms, a mid-tempo dance style and lyric-centric composition. It’s brought me to Billie Holiday (of course), Elis Regina and Sarah Deleo. Try the station – I’ve shared it.

You can define, play and share stations on your computer for free, or for $3/month if you want them without ads (but the ads are far from intrusive). Visit Pandora and learn more…

Then consider getting a Squeezebox. It’s an Internet appliance that sits on your wireless network and plays music through your home audio system. What does it play?

  • Any song on your computer, including those managed by iTunes (but not with DRM)
  • Any playlist on your computer
  • Your Pandora stations (if you’re a subscriber at that $3/month)
  • Your Rhapsody stations (if you’re a subscriber)
  • Any radio station that broadcasts over the Internet
  • RSS news feeds (there is a scrolling display)
  • A variety of amazing Internet audio resources

and so on… You can build favorite lists, etc., etc. Learn more at It comes with a very intuitive interface and remote, and goes for $250 with no further costs. It does not require your computer to be on (except to play the songs on your computer). Visit Squeezebox to learn more.

I’m listening to great music now, discovering many new artists, and having a ball. Give Pandora a try, and then get ready for Squeezebox!

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