A guide to turning up the volume in your library.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

10 Final Love Notes about Pandora
(until the next compelling phase)

1. They play the explicit versions of songs!
So be careful if listening at work or referring to YA patrons. I haven’t run into any foul language, sticking to my Celtic rock, though.
2. Pandora’s sound quality seems much higher than Launchcast to me -- 128Kbps streams, requiring broadband. Pandora also requires that your computer can handle Flash.
3. The subscription version and the free version are exactly the same services, except that the free version has ads. This doesn’t mean the noisy, abrupt audio ads though – as far as I can tell. Print ads only, looks like.
4. You can learn about a genre by entering one artist, early Black Eyed Peas, for instance. Say we use, Bridging the Gap, the song “Original,” -- a song from my college years. Pandora offers up these artists:
Bow Wow
Nick Cannon
Brooke Vale
So why do these songs resemble the first one? Click on the artists and you see something like:
r&b influences
east coast rap influences
electronica influences
a deep voice
chill rhymin'
clean lyrics
use of tonal harmonies
melodic part writing
rhythmic clapping
a bumpin' kick sound
a synth bass riff
smooth synth textures
a dry recording sound
radio friendly stylings
prevalent use of groove
lyrics by a respected rap artist
production by a famous producer
You might suddenly hear the songs in a whole new light: how the Pandora ‘experts’ heard them. It’s not just “that rap music” anymore – it’s a series of parts, the sum of which is greater, etc.
5. They haven’t tackled classical or world music . . . yet. The Q&A says they aren’t quite sure how to go about it at this point.
6. They claim to have 400,000 songs from over 20,000 artists – “the big record labels, the indies and the musicians recording and self-publishing . . .”
7. Your musician patrons can submit their own albums for review and possible inclusion/promotion. (Details are in the Q&A)
8. Pandora apparently works really well for holiday music. If you are into that . . .
9. The Q&A also has helpful tips for adding Pandora to your blog or website. As stations, feeds, etc.
10. Like us, they seek to educate! You might have questions like this:
Q: What is "syncopation"? "Vamping"? "Major/minor key tonality"? "Chromatic harmony"? “Acoustic instrumentation"? "Electric instrumentation"? "Experimental sounds"? “Orchestral arranging"? "Basic rock song structure"? "Meandering melodic phrasing"? "East coast rap roots"? "West coast rap roots"? "Old school roots"? "Southern rap roots"? "Gangsta rap attitude"? "Downtempo influence"? "Trance roots"? "Trip-hop roots"? "G-funk synth line"? "Chopped & screwed production” "Vinyl ambience"? "Headnodic beats"? "Use of sing-jaying"? "Wet/dry recording sound"? "House roots"? "IDM influences"?

That’s right. The answers are in Pandora’s Q&A. Just think of how cool you can be with your jargon now!


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