Tag Archives: lastfm

Finding new music with Pandora, LastFM

Are you getting tired of listening to the same old artists and the same old tracks on your iPod? There are 3 web services out there that can help you expand your music listening experience.

First is Pandora. This service asks you to enter some of your favorite artists and songs. It then uses a very sophisticated algorithm to mathematically quantify the music from those artists. Pandora will then play those artists as well as other artists and songs with a similar scoring.

You can play this through your computer, or if you have been reading my blog, via WiFi with the Sondigo Sirocco. Also, thanks to a partnership, Pandora also works with a WiFi player called Slim Devices (which was recently bought by Logitech).

The other service is lastFM. Similar to Pandora, it allows you to select your favorite artists and songs. It then uses the social community of its members to offer up other artists that were chosen by others as favorites along with your favorite artists.This service can also be played from your computer or wirelessly using the above devices.

The 3rd service is Yahoo’s Launchcast radio. You can select your favorites in several ways using this service. You can add a list of your favorite artists, albums, songs or genres. Or, you can simply select one of the previous options and start playing. As each song plays you have an option of rating the song, the artist or the album using 1-5 start or 0 for don’t play this again.To start, you may want to spend some time with this and quickly skip through the songs and rate them. Launchcast then uses these ratings to play other songs from artist or genre you have rated highly. Over time as your rate more and more songs, the “station” becomes more and more personalized.

So now you have 3 options to expand your musical tastes.

Ubiquitous Wireless

I recently attended the Mesh 2006 conference. There were a lot of great discussions. The one that interested me was a discussion on wireless and satellite radio. I sat behind Andrew Coyne from the National Post. He coined the phrase Ubiquitious Wireless.

 ubiq·ui·tous : existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered :

This means, wireless everywhere. This is not some future science fiction, but reality in the next 5 to 10 years. It is already happening in San Francisco and Phillidelphia. This means, wireless everywhere. This is not some future science fiction, but reality in the next 5 to 10 years. It is already happening in San Francisco and Phillidelphia.Now imagine for a minute, if all handheld and portable devices had WiFi capability. From your MP3 player, to your cell phone to your car stereo. Now that you have the hardware, you need the content. Robert Scoble posted an entry in his blog about the sort of filter he would like to see for retrieving content. It could retrieve random information and post it to his iPod. Then as he listens to the information it would track what you liked and remember to download like content the next time. There are music services that do this today. The Pandora project uses math to analyze songs and groups them together. You choose some artists or songs. It presents those and others that fit the same style. Last.FM uses community preferences. If a lot of people who picked your artist or song, also picked these other songs, then it puts those into your playlist. Now take all the above and add it into a car stereo with WiFi. The software or your choice collects the music content for you above and either plays it, or stores it on your car stereo. Cheap flash memory is available today in 8GB sizes. So how does satellite radio compete with this. Or maybe the question is…Can satellite radio compete with this.