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If you are like me, you don’t really have time to discover new music, and either rely on recommendations from friends, or cherry pick from whatever is being played on the limited selection of radio stations.

I think internet radio helped broaden my musical tastes, in that I could select a much narrower niche, such as Roma’s Groove Salad which they describe as “A nicely chilled plate of ambient beats and groves”. This effectively allowed the chosen station to expose my ears to similar genre music by different artists.

Recently I discovered a cool new website called Pandora.
The basic idea is that you feed Pandora with artists or songs that you like, and it creates your own radio station, playing similar tunes. You then “guide” Pandora by telling it that you really like, or like it’s selection. As the learning process continues, you end up with your own radio station! No downloading of software is required, and registration is free (although you need to enter a US zip code). The free version is ad supported, and if you don’t like the ads, you can upgrade to a subscription model for around $36 / year.

The ads for albums don’t exactly match what you are listening to, which is one area I would improve on. But the performance from my fast broadband connection was pretty good, and I do think this is one example where the the basic need of “Can you help me discover more music that I’ll like?” is met.

Here’s an updated article on the background of the Pandora business from Fast Company.