How do you get millions of people to voluntarily tell you what they like and dislike and to help you categorize an entire library of content. Offer them something they want. That’s exactly what internet radio pioneer Pandora is doing, to the delight of listeners. 

Shortly after Tim Westergren founded of the Music Genome Project, an effort by a group of musicans and music-lovers “to capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song”, his friends would ask him to use his experience with the project to help them discover music they might like. According to Westergren, “Each friend told us their favorite artists and songs, explored the music we suggested, gave us feedback, and we in turn made new suggestions. Everybody started joking that we were now their personal DJs. “

Westerngren and associates eventually realized they were onto something big. And from those initial conversations with friends came Pandora, an online service that has one and only one goal: to help is customers discover new music they’ll love. Pandora uses metadata “attributes”—everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course, singing styles and vocal harmony—to provide listeners with music suggestions that match their personal music preferences.

Take a test drive!

  1. Visit
  2. Create an account.
  3. Follow the on-screen directions (provide Pandora with the name of a song or an artist you really like).
  4. Pandora will create an internet radio station specifically for you (although you can share it with others so they can listen to your favorite tunes)
  5. Rate each song: Teach Pandora what you like and what you dislike and you’ll see your radio station improve over time.
  6. Add additional favorites (groups/songs) to your station to help Pandora further customize the station to your liking.
  7. Share your station with others.
  8. Enjoy the music!

I believe Pandora is onto something big! What do you think?