Pandora - the music geek's way to learn new artists

I am by no means an expert at anything pertaining to either the music industry nor the technology behind playing your favorite songs and artists' music, however, I have found something that has greatly increased the scope of artists within the scope of musical genres I listen to.

If you are anything like me, you love learning about new artists/bands in the genres of music that you like most.  The problem is that, until relatively recently, there has been no sure fire way to find new artists/bands other than by going to see your favorite "known" (by you) artists/bands play concert venues and learning about similar artists/bands that are the openings acts.  This can get expensive and time consuming, and I do not know about you, but I do not have the time nor the money to pursue new musical talent this way.  The other old school way to accomplish this is by purchasing cd's of your favorite "known" artists/bands and looking in the liner notes at their thank-yous and shout outs to the bands they've toured with.  The problem this presents is one of clutter... I do not need a bunch of cd's around my house when they'll be entered into my iTunes and then not be touched again until I either change music playing devices or until my iPod/iTunes crashes and I need to re-enter them.  I don't even feel the need to address the supposed 3rd option.... traditional radio.  Besides talk radio, genre & demographic based radio stations rarely play anything they are not paid to play by labels and others in the music biz.  Their "rotation" is limited.

Enter Pandora (and other free, customizable music streaming sites), the online radio site (, that allows you to input an artist, band, or song that you enjoy and based upon Pandora's music repertoire (or your chosen free, customizable music streaming site), they will find other similar artists, bands, and songs and play that music allowing you to either "like this song" or "not like this song".  The playlist will continue to explore similar artists/songs as long as you keep that new station in your station list. You can make stations for any genre known to man.  What this has done for me is allowed me to experience new bands and artists that I might otherwise have not found, without spending my paycheck on travel expenses, concert tickets, and cd's.  I can then go to my favorite place (online or the old fashioned way, music store) to purchase music (either songs or albums) from these artists/bands.  Since I started using Pandora, I have increased my personal music repertoire at least 10 fold.  Maybe you can too by using one of the many free, customizable music streaming sites.

But wait, there's more.  Pandora (as well as many of the other free, customizable music streaming sites) also let's you attach clever names to your stations and then share them with friends so that you (& they) can truly learn about even more music.  There are even genre suggestions for those who want to start with a broader scope than just one artist, band, or song.

I hope you are able to solve your problem of finding new music without breaking the bank and/or spending too much time traveling to concerts.  Enjoy!

***  Other free, customizable music streaming sites include...   Last FM, Play it!, Deezer, Radio Live 365, Project Playlist, Radio Paradise, Sky FM, Groove Shark, Imeem

(Editor's Note: At the time of publication, Pandora is only available in the US due to music licensing and copyright restrictions.)

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