The art of streaming..

March 8, 2006

I have been really into internet radio lately and simply loving it! Unlimited music to be enjoyed with not a single byte compromised.. what more could you ask for? All you need is a fairly fast internet connection and the capacity to cope with the relatively low bit rates and the occasional buffering time, and you got yourself a treasure clove of music! I already mentioned about the Pandora Gnome Project and its awesome functions that don’t only let you stream music, but also help you discover new music in the process.

Last.fm is another site with similar and equally great features as Pandora, though its suggestions are not as accurate as Pandora. Just like Pandora, you can get your own online music profile that you can fill up with music that you fancy. It allows you to create your personal radio stations and also to find other users who share your taste. So, basically it’s, according to the folks at last.fm itself, the “social music revolution”. It’s really fun and addictive, not to mention pretty darn good and a must check. Pity I didn’t check this one earlier!

You can visit the site here.

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So, what do you think is the most effective way of finding new music? Staying glued to MTV or check the local CD store sounds fair enough, but the way I came to develop my own list of favorites is through friends and cousins. So, basically I must confess that at the beginning my taste of music came to grow and be affected by the people I tend to hang around with. But I came a long way since than and now have developed an individuality in my taste of music. And not to mention I found my own way of discovering new music later.

Anyway, back to the question: the most effective way to discover new music that you will like. Pandora website seems to read people’s mind and came up with a way to answer that question by developing a way to help us people discover new music complementing their taste.
The Pandora Project is not the first, nor will be the last attempt to try out this kind of stuff. I came across various web sites claiming that they can help users find fresh music that they might like. But, regardless of how much textual information they provide, it is really not possible to tell exactly what you would fancy unless of course you get to hear it first, right?

And that is where the The Music Genome Project comes in. This website allows to find new music in based upon your current favorite artists. For instance, you will be asked to enter a song of your choice. The site then searches its database to see if the song has a unique title. If it does, it will give you a list of matching bands or artists to you and also gives you the opportunity to decline the match. So, it begins to play songs that are similar to the one you searched for. The cool thing about the matching process is that, songs are matched based on far more than just music store genres. Matching songs are selected based on everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony.

What this means is that when I tell Pandora I like Tori Amos, it doesn’t just conclude that “I like Altenative Rock”. It concludes that “I like mild, rhythmic syncopation, mixed acoustic and electronic instrumentation, major key tonality, a breathy female lead vocalist, and electric pianos”.

If I tell Pandora I like Nirvana, it doesn’t just conclude that “I like Grunge”. It concludes that “I like mild, rhythmic syncopation, repetitive melodic phrasing, minor key tonality, melodic songwriting, and a dynamic male vocalist”. You get the idea!

Things gets even better as you sign up (Free of course) and type in the name of your favorite artist, Pandora will analyze your choice, and create your very own station which will stream songs based on what you typed in on the first place.

While the stream is being played, you can tell Pandora whether you liked the song it selected or not. It will further refine its choice based upon how you rated it. The most amazing feature is that you can actually combine artist qualities. For instance, you can create a Tori Amos stream, and afterwards combine it with the qualities of Sarah McLachlan to better suit your listening habits.

It gets even niftier! Unlike typical internet radio out there, you can actually pause the stream, as well as skip songs!

So, bottom line is that, Pandora Project is really nifty and provides a fresh approach to the concept of discovering new music. All streams are high quality 128k, but so far I had no problems whatsoevber streaming smoothly even with my patheticly slow broadband connection. Pandora even allows you to email a link of your streams to your friends, where they can listen in to your stream without registering, and they can also have a look at the type of songs you prefer. It is truely radio made just for you (and your friends)

You can access the site through here.

Ever thought what is this song?.. just let Tunetic tag it for you!

Here is a nifty piece of free proggie I stumbled upon while looking for a tag editor. It lets you find artist or such information about songs. A really handy tool provided that you have audio files without any kind of tag information.

Got this song you really like but have no idea who the artist is or from which album the song is from? Just let Tunetic listen to the song and it will get the artist’s name and the song’s title in matter of seconds. Tunetic is the very first song search engine based on the sound of your computer. All you need is a microphone and internet access to use this software.

For further information, documentation and downloadable links you can visit here.

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