March 09, 2007

Wanting some music guaranteed to suit your tastes - all of them!

Pandora I treasure my Edinburgh Coffee Morning coffees, organised by Mike and attended by some really varied folk (but there should be more girls coming along - why are all ad people, designers, marketers, the unemployed and geeks male?). I make some of my best tech discoveries there.

This week, wonderfully summarised by Jamie and in photos by Mike, I made the discovery the year - for me, at least. Pandora is a music radio site where you make up the station based on one song or artist that you like. In my first go at it Paul Simon was the only inspiration to come to me. Yet, within minutes I had a selection of songs that tonally, vocally, harmoniously, rhythmically and stylistically matched my favourite Simon songs. This is personalised radio and some. You've got to try it out.

It really is educational
It got me thinking about music classes where teachers search for genre and then need as many examples as possible. This is the perfect tool and there's not any of this 30 second of the track nonsense. You have the whole deal, all of it, and then more of where that came from. It's useful even those of us just looking for some consistently same-ish non-distracting music for our creative lessons (I was one of those awful teachers that played French radio as my class worked away - they liked it and found flow, so I stuck with it).

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Last FM also does something similar and allows you to see who listens to the same kind of music as you. You can even set up your own blog.

Well Euan you would have more females for coffee if you invited us and were not so far away...Maybe I should set up a female coffee stop with all those frily gadget lovers out there.

I agree, Ewan, Pandora is a brilliant service, and you can share your musical tastes. I, for one, would be interested to hear what you listen to. Mine, (search for theo28 in the listener profile are moving towards the more obscure but still Celtic influenced stuff.

Musicovery is another variant on this theme. It lets you select by decade, and by tempo. Ideal if you're stuck in a particular time-warp, or need music to fit with study of the sixties. Peace, man.

Yep - Pandora rocks. I use it and Last.fm. Pandora's really easy to use - lots of my family now use it at home instead of radio. Last.fm's even more fun when you have time to be a bit mroe geeky about your music. And you're right bth are very, very educational.

Recently I've heard some great tracks in cafes and bars which I identified by using the Shazam service on my my mobile and then entering into Pandora to hear more (Adem and Husky Rescue since you ask). But a brilliant new band is not all you get when you use these services - you actually tend to find a whole new subgenre of music superb. Along with LinkedIn and Flickr, Last.fm's one of the few community sites I get a lot of pleasure from putting time into (tagging songs, seeing what friends ar listening to) because it gives so much back.

I finally found the piece of hardware I was also talking about. It allows you to stream Pandora into your living room in a stylish little box. http://www.slimdevices.com. Although I'm not sure I'll be forking out £200 anytime soon.

I was very impressed with Pandora, Ewan. To test its reach I entered the names of a few "world musicians" and was impressed that it came up with the goods. After creating a few radio stations I was kind of locked out and couldn't overcome this by subscription as their license only covers the U.S. at the moment. Hopefully this will change soon.

Find yourself a US postcode... it works

Shazam would also be SO cool for the classroom, when kids want to have a record of an excerpt being played in class, for example. Brilliant!

Gee, Ewan, I'd love to drop in on one of your coffee mornings, being a female designer and all that, but there is just this little matter of distance...

I found the USA thing a pain in the neck. I've therefore stuck with Last.FM. :-)

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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