Excerpts from a nice comparative intro by Steve Krause
“Both services allow you to specify a favorite artist, based on which you immediately receive an Internet audio stream of similar music.
Pandora’s recommendations are based on the inherent qualities of the music. Give Pandora an artist or song, and it will find similar music in terms of melody, harmony, lyrics, orchestration, vocal character and so on. Pandora likes to call these musical attributes “genes” and its database of songs, classified against hundreds of such attributes, the “Music Genome Project.”
… Last.fm is a social recommender. It knows little about songs’ inherent qualities. It just assumes that if you and a group of other people enjoy many of the same artists, you will probably enjoy other artists popular with that group.”
[Steve goes on to talk about the pros and cons of both in a nicely-considered fashion]…
Personally, I love the Last.FM idea, but in practice, which may also be an artifact of the firewall setup I have at work, Pandora was up and running and playing good songs about 10x more quickly (= instantly). With Pandora, I just went to the URL, typed in the artist, and was listening immediately. With Last.FM, I needed a 3-click download (didn’t I do this before? can’t remember), a 7-step configure (didn’t I do this before? can’t remember), a firewall clearance dialog, a proxy configuration (didn’t I do this before? can’t remember)… and… well, you get the idea. I’ve listened to 8 tracks on Pandora *WHILE* I’m fiddling with my Last.FM setup. OK, I’m impatient… Also I have a SliMP3/Squeezebox at home (see my older blog comments about it in 2004 and 2003), so have a slight bias towards the Pandora/Squeezebox alliance. Sure, there are some ads in the free version of Pandora, but I’ll see how it goes. Right now, I’m enjoying it immensely. (Thanks to Anthony Seminara for bringing Pandora (back) to my attention).
On the social side, I should note that I’ve also found some great music by accident just by following some friend-of-friends links on MySpace! Although the look and feel of MySpace is something that seriously annoyed me (must be showing my age), when I was advised to consider it in light of music sharing and promotion, that totally altered my opinion of it!
Hmmm… looking up my old SliMP3 commentary I noted this remark I made two years ago:
I’m relishing the total elimination of the CD from my life. In essence, when I want convenience, access, large storage, quality, portability, then high-bitrate MP3 fits the purpose very well: that’s my infinite jukebox. When I want ownership, warmth, liner notes I can read and enjoy without a magnifying glass, 30 minutes of audio pleasure and relaxation, then give me a vinyl Long-Playing record every time.
Well, the truth is that CDs creep in periodically… but I still hate ’em…
UPDATE ON PANDORA 10 MINUTES LATER:
“Unfortunately, our music licenses force us to limit the number of songs you may skip each hour. If you want to hear something else, try creating another station starting with a different artist or song.”
Bah. Well, there’s always shoutcast.com for ‘genre stations’…
Technorati Tags: pandora, last.fm, myspace, personal.radio, social.software, recommender.systems