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Pandora and me

A couple of friends recommended it, but it took a few hours alone in a hotel room for me to open this amazing box., a product of the Music Genome Project, moves my musical interests way beyond my meager iTunes collection.  Beyond what I thought I liked to listen to.

Based on my thumbs up or thumbs down votes, when I set up a music "station," the Web-based application  builds an understanding of my quirky musical tastes.  In this short time, Pandora knows me pretty well. It now introduces me to new artists whose songs I instantly like. 

I am discovering other folks who have set up equally quirky stations.  (Hard to believe there are others who like combinations of Grateful Dead, Susan Werner, Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones, Motown, anything folky, Bob Dylan, Dar Williams, and Michael Buble.)

Pandora’s single mission: "To play music you’ll love – and nothing else."

Since 2000, the team of fifty musician-analysts:

has been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every song. It takes 20-30 minutes per song to capture all of the little details that give each recording its magical sound – melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics … and more – close to 400 attributes!

When you seach a song or artist, Pandora scans

its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings – new and old, well known and completely obscure – to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice.

Okay, this is a lot of fun.  But think about using this site to demonstrate the concept of Web 2.0 with learners (and with teachers).

It models all of the following: push technology, collective intelligence, collaboration, sophisticated media searching, and interactivity.

Open this box. Your students will think this is very cool, even if their stations look quite different from yours. 

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Tracy Poelzer says:

    Hi Joyce,

    Thanks for suggesting this. I’m trying to compile a list of Web 2.0 tools that my technophobic staff will enjoy using personally, but learn something from that will help them better teach their students…it’s the only way I’ll get them to try it out. I was thinking of starting with the iGoogle personalized page with RSS feeds and gadgets. Pandora sounds like it would be terrific to do a mini-workshop on too. Can you recommend any others? It has to be stuff that will appeal to their sense of personal fun – if I market it as something they have to learn for the classroom, they will never sign up to learn voluntarily. Your suggestions (and those from any other people reading this blog) would be much appreciated.

  2. Tracy Poelzer says:

    Just a “heads up” for other Canadians like me… I just tried to test out Pandora and it will not allow visitors from most countries outside of the USA. Sob! I was really excited about trying this out, too!

  3. I heard about Pandora two weeks ago and have been fascinated by it since – telling everyone I think might be interested to check it out. I’m a Dixie Chicks girl myself, so that’s where I started but have since branched off into other styles and genres.

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