I’ve written before about how I love the web music service Pandora and its nerdy roots as a musical categorization engine. Underneath Pandora lurks the Music Genome Project, a smartly designed effort to identify properties present in individual recordings regardless of artist, genre, label, era, or any other strictly nonmusical characteristics. These musical properties are used to make automated decisions about your playlist – if you start with a song that uses electric guitars, minor key tonality, chromatic harmonic structure and uptempo pacing, you’re likely to get more of these characteristics in subsequent songs – no matter what artist, era or genre. It makes for great listening and surprising discovery.
I talked to Pandora CEO Tim Westergren in 2007 when I worked for Gearwire.com. Here’s Tim’s Wall Street Journal interview from today. The upshot: Pandora’s now profitable, working out the privacy problems that Facebook’s shifting policies have foisted upon them.
And what the heck, here’s my Pandora profile. Below, a 2008 clip with Tim, Pandora’s Dancing Monkey (and crew).