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The personal journal of technology journalist and conference speaker Randall S. Newton.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pandora, Your Personal Internet DJ

Pandora, a new Internet streaming music service with a novel twist, launched earlier this week. To use the service, you type in the name of an artist/group or song that you like. Pandora then searches through its database to compile a list of songs from other artists/groups that it thinks you will also like.

The work of Pandora is an extention of the Music Genome Project, which for the past five years has sought to catalog the essense of music at the most fundamental level. The group behind MGP has listed to more than 10,000 songs, analyzing the musical qualities of each.

Pandora and the Music Genome Project remind me of an idea I've had for years, but never pursued, something I call "One Sound." I want to start with a famous bit of classical music, like the finale of a Beethoven Symphony, and end with a "classical" rap song (since I know NOTHING about rap, I would have to defer to others to pick the tune). The goal of One Sound would be to select songs that sound "just like the previous one" on the list. The end goal would be a list of songs, that when listened to in order, each would sound similar to the previous one, but the genres slowly drift from one to another, until you reach the last song on the list.

To make it more interesting, perhaps there should be more than a beginning and an ending song. Maybe we could stick Willie Nelson doing "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" and The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus" somewhere in the middle.

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