Monday, February 20, 2006

Pandora's Infinite Jukebox

Whatcha doing?

Listening to this new web site,

Is it a download site?

No. It’s a custom radio site.

A what?

You feed it the name of one or more bands or sings that you like. Then it searches for other music that it thinks you’d like. For instance, I programmed in Buzzcocks, The Clash, and a few other 70's punk and New Wave bands, and now it’s cranking out 70's, 80's and 90's punk tunes by not only Buzzcocks, but the Toy Dolls, The Lillingtons, The Sex Pistols, Chron Gen, Black Flag and Green Day.

Green Day?

Well, there are probably still a few bugs in the system. It’s kind of new. But it still beats the crap out of shelling out for satellite radio.

So I can hear anything I want for free?

Well, not exactly. They choose the songs, though you can always skip ones you’d rather not hear, and you can edit your “seed” song list to change the flavor of the stream. If you want to hear anything fairly obscure, they might not have what you’re looking for.

In other words, don’t throw out those old 7-inchers?

Right. But they’ll do better by you than the local Clear Channel top-40 FM station or MTV any day.

I stopped watching MTV when I got a life!

I stopped watching it when I got a job. Pandora saved my butt when my boss banned playing CD’s in our workstations.

Because of that Sony Music rootkit thing?

You got it! It was pretty dismal around the office for a while!

You know, I’m wondering, who’s running this thing?

The Music Genome Project.

I mean who’s paying for it? The rights to all these tunes must cost a lot.

Not sure. Their FAQ doesn’t say. Their about screen says “At Pandora Media™ (formerly Savage Beast Technologies™), we have a single mission: To help you discover new music you'll love.” They’ve got links to and Itunes on their site. I guess it’s a marketing operation.

Or a mind-control operation.

Say what?

Think about it, if they can gather information on the kinds of music that millions of people are listening to, then they’ll be able to figure out what the country as a whole is thinking. Then they can pass the info along to the govermnent, who can use it to figure out how to get away with whatever it wants to get away with and how best to do it. It’s demographic science on a newer and much more intimate, invasive level. And as far as we can tell, all we’re doing is listening to free music.

What are you rattling on about?

...Or they can figure out who the liberals are. They’ll check out the kinds of music that each subscriber listens to. Think about it. They scientifically know what kinds of music a peace activist, a free-speech advocate or a secular humanist is most likely to listen to. Then they can come around and get us one by one.

Jesus, give me a break! You see Homeland Security agents under every dirty sock! Yeah, they probably are collecting information about what we listen to, and they probably are passing it along to Amazon, Itunes, and other music marketing entities. At least I sure hope they are. I’m so damn sick and tired of a handful of overfed, designer-suited, expense-accounted record company wonks with 50-dollar haircuts and drug habits telling us “what we want to hear”! If web sites like shake up the business-as-usual of the music industry, and make the radio conglomerates finally sit up and take notice of what we REALLY want to hear, meaning that commercial radio might, just might become listenable again, then I’m all for it! I don't mind the free music either!