Pandora is a free internet radio application. It allows the creation of different "stations" each tailored to the user tastes. The software attempts to bring to the user new tracks which are similar to the other songs in the station. For its comparison Pandora uses the data generated by the Music Genome Project. To understand Pandora you must also understand the Music Genome Project.

The Music Genome Project®

On January 6, 2000 a group of musicians and music-loving technologists came together with the idea of creating the most comprehensive analysis of music ever.

"Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or 'genes' into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.
Since we started back in 2000, we've carefully listened to the songs of tens of thousands of different artists - ranging from popular to obscure - and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time. This work continues each and every day as we endeavor to include all the great new music coming out of studios, clubs and garages around the world.
It has been quite an adventure, you could say a little crazy - but now that we've created this extraordinary collection of music analysis, we think we can help be your guide as you explore your favorite parts of the music universe."

We hope you enjoy the journey.
Tim Westergren
The Music Genome Project

Interview with Tim Westergren of Pandora Radio...

Why use Pandora?
Pandora is one of the few music tools of today that can customize a radio station based on a song or artist. It allows users to create any radio station tuned to their taste.
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Pandora vs Last.fm
Both programs are similar in that they try to find music that you will like. The difference is in the way they determine which music you will like.
Pandora uses what they call “gene” compatibility. They rate the music in 400 different aspects like melody, lyrics, symphony, artist, etc. and try to find similar music for the user.
Last.fm uses other users opinion or likes. So if a numerous people like x song and also like y song then the system will recommended to the user.

Pandoras future
Pandora started as a web app only, but now it can be acce ssed from several mobile devices including the ever popular Apple iPhone.
In the future I believe we will start to see more stand alone devices and applications that provide Pandora support.

1. http://pandora.com/mgp.shtml
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c6KCDmEnt8
3. http://www.thetechbrief.com/2008/04/14/pandora-vs-lastfm/