If you haven't used Pandora Internet
Radio, you really should give it a try. You can customize any number of playlists for yourself, and Pandora will make recommendations based upon your preferences. It works a bit like Netftlix or Amazon, only it's a lot more sophisticated. People--let's call them catalogers--have cataloged music by over 75,000 artists to identify musical features. (Read about the Music Genome Project that is the brains behind Pandora's programing.) You start your playlist with one or more artists, titles, or recordings, and Pandora will help you discover similar music.The titles of some of the playlists we have created will give you an idea of what you can do: Jazz: I can see for Miles, Latin salsa, Rock: Bob and the Boys, Blues: Accoustic, Rock: Byrne Buddies. (Sorry, internationals; it is currently only available in the U.S. The lawyers have to clear up some legal kinks before it will again be available outside of the U.S.)
Pandora founder Tim Westergren was in Richmond Monday night for a Town Hall meeting. It was attended by about 175 Pandora Groupies (you could tell because when Tim asked a question that elicited a favorable response, the audience automatically used "thumbs up"). Tim recapped the development of Pandora (technical and financial), and told us where it had come from and where it is going. He's a very engaging man, and fun to listen to. There were interesting questions, and the ensuing conversations were intelligent and thought-provoking. We learned that Pandora groupies listen to their playlists on iPhones, Blackberries and mp3 players. Free t-shirts (thanks, Pandora!), surprise free burritos (thanks, Chipotles!), and lots of interesting discussion. What better way to spend the evening?