Pandora - The Music Genome Project

Music retrieval/suggestion systems are still very new. None of it is perfect. This is for obvious reasons ofcourse. Even us human cannot properly express what kind of music we actually like. Even if you say rock, or jazz, does not mean that you like all the rock songs and all the jazz songs. But there indeed is a common element in the music preference of each and every one of us, and it sucks that we cannot say what it is.

Pandora is supposed to be the best there is. It has learned lessons from many other stations, and this project has been going on for 5 years now. I decided to give it a 10 minutes try.As a startup, I was asked for an artist name, so I typed in “Mara”. I had in mind one of Mara’s very darky tracks. I clicked the next button and this bloody thing suggested me that I should listen to Ricky Martin. It even dared to give me a list of other songs that were similar in rhythm, lyrics to Ricky Martin’s Maria. What the hell?

A second attempt, I typed in a more mainstream name, Satoshi Tomiie, and this time Pandora asked me to verify between two Satoshi tracks and I picked “Love in Traffic”. I clicked next and it suggested me a very pop and very vocal house song. Not good. I passed this track, and next came the very familiar “Travelogue”, ah. But still mainstream! Again there were more mainstream tracks.

As I went on, I did the thing I was supposed to do by saying if I liked a particular track or not. This was supposed to make the suggestion accurate and better. After 7 tracks passed, it still gave more bad music than good music. I clicked the button that said “Why is this song playing” for one funky type track I did not like, and the answer I got was.

Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this track because it features tremendous bass, a knack for catchy hooks, vocal samples, a repetitive song structure and use of modal harmonies.

Okay that doesn’t sound bad. But I really hate this track! As a final word I must say that for 5 years of research, this thing is not very accurate either.. I say it sucks for someone who has a taste for music that is not available at the stores and not seen on TV and not heard on radio, therefore not bothered by this project. As for the rest of you, give Pandora a try, you might like it.

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