Posts Tagged ‘radio’

Listening to Pandora’s Box

PandoraWhy do we like the music that we like? That is the question explored by Rob Walker in a great piece in this week’s New York Times Magazine about the Internet radio station Pandora. Pandora attempts to deconstruct the music you like and find similar songs to match your taste, without any nonmusical filters whatsoever.

I’ve already sung the praises of listening to the radio, but that has some major drawbacks: annoying DJs, repetitive set lists, lots and lots of commercials. Pandora, however, presents itself as something of a solution to these problems (they still have commercials, but only like 15 seconds worth every four songs, not the five minutes worth every three on the radio). 

Here’s how it works: You go to the website (or you get their app, which is more common, but my cell phone is from late 2008, so I can’t do that yet) and enter a song* or artist you like. From that, Pandora will construct a radio station around similar songs. You can approve or disapprove of every song, and with each judgment, the radio station refines its idea of your taste. Continue reading

Listening to the Radio

It’s been about six years since I listened to the radio with any kind of regularity. I mean, occasionally I would listen to a classic rock station when I was sick of my iPod, or whichever CDs I had in my car. And on long car trips I generally spend a sizable amount of time listening to sports talk radio or someone like Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck/Sean Hannity (don’t worry, I do it ironically).

But as for actually listening to regular old top 40 radio or some variant—well, it’s been awhile.

This kind of behavior is not uncommon or surprising: Anyone with an iPod or CD player and musical tastes that are even the least bit refined will probably be more satisfied by controlling his or her own musical input, as opposed to outsourcing it to a radio station.

Over the past few days, though, I have spent some time reacquainting myself with radio, and I must admit: It has some charm. In fact, I recently caught myself debating whether or not to make Z100 one of my pre-sets, if only so I would never again have to go fifteen minutes without hearing “Use Somebody” (it’s nice to see that, in the years it’s been since I stopped listening to Z100, they haven’t decided to stretch their playlist beyond nine songs). Continue reading