Design your own free internet radio station

March 2, 2009 | By | Comments (0)

Have you ever tried listening to the radio through the Internet?

I’ll admit my experiences with Internet radio have been limited to the channels available through iTunes. In the past I’ve tried listening to 80’s music on Sky.FM as well as holiday tunes around, well, the holidays. But I’ve never been completely happy with the results, usually because it spent more time "rebuffering" than actually playing music.

But that was then. This past weekend I discovered a web site called Pandora which has me very excited about listening to Internet radio.

Why? Because unlike other stations which play music by genre (80’s, jazz, rock, talk, public, religious), I can type in the name of my favorite artist, song or composer and Pandora will create a custom station featuring that music and more like it.

For example, a station using the artist Katy Perry as the inspiration results in a play list that includes The Cardigans, KT Tunstall, Nelly Furtado and Katy (of course). Love Pat Benatar (and seriously, who doesn’t??)? Her station gives me Roxette, Blondie, Journey and Stevie Nicks.

I think I might be in musical heaven.

According to the web site, each station is built using elements from the Music Genome Project "the most sophisticated taxonomy of musical information ever collected. It represents over eight years of analysis by our trained team of musicologists, and spans everything from this past Tuesday’s new releases all the way back to the Renaissance and Classical music. . . Each song in the Music Genome Project is analyzed using up to 400 distinct musical characteristics by a trained music analyst. These attributes capture not only the musical identity of a song, but also the many significant qualities that are relevant to understanding the musical preferences of listeners."

What does that mean? Beats me – but as I told my husband, I couldn’t tell you what should be on any of our custom stations. I just know when the music plays, the songs all match together.

Did I mention it’s also free? My favorite price.

Looking through the Pandora web site, I found that I can share my favorite stations (Pet Shop Boys Radio anyone?), as well as buy my favorite songs from iTunes or Amazon. I can also listen to Pandora through my computer (which I’ve been doing as I write this – without any rebuffering issues) and on many mobile devices, including the iPhone (but not my Pearl – darn it!).

Listening to music through Pandora is as simple as visiting their web site and creating your first station. If you want to save or share your stations you will need to register.

So I repeat… Have you tried listening to the radio through the Internet? Which artist or song would you use to inspire a Pandora station?