AdmitMBA360 Blog formerly Journey to my MBA

Journey to my MBA

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Music Listening that will change my life

I've always loved music. I was even a Saxophone Music Minor in College. So, I'm a bit picky about devices or things that change my Music listening. When I got my iPod 4-5 months ago, I struggled with how to incorporate such an expensive device into my daily life and routine. Especially with my GMAT studies and Application prep.

But, then came my discovery of Podcasting. Wow! As much as I love Music, I also enjoy talk radio. My current fav Podcasts are:
1) TWIS - This week in Science
2) Buzz Out Loud from CNET
3) Inside the Net
4) CommandN
5) TWIT - This WEEK in Tech
6) University Channel Podcast
7) NPR
8) APM's Futer Tense

I listen to these everywhere I'm waiting for something. As much as I pay attention to keeping my cell phone charged, I now spend the same mental energy to keep the iPod charged.

Today, everything changed again. I was listening to Inside the Net Podcast and they mentioned Pandora. What is Pandora?

Pandora is a music discovery service designed to help you find and enjoy music that you'll love. It's powered by the Music Genome Project, the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Just tell us one of your favorite songs or artists and we'll launch a streaming station to explore that part of the music universe.

It's absolutely brilliant!!!!!!!!!! We are living in an age where customization of choice is the key to all that will attract us. Think TIVO, Satellite Radio, Pay Per View, downloadable iTune TV Shows to watch when we want.

The constant problem of purchasing Music from a store (online or retail store) is that you don't have the time to browse or listen to all the Artists or Songs out there. Nobody truly understands your taste. These guys have hundreds of thousands songs that have been indexed with over 400 qualities. I tried it today and I found myself so impressed with all the new songs and artists that I instantly liked. I was KNOCKED me off my feet. I'm still floored.

I typed the name of an artist and the Flash interface started playing live songs of the artist. Remember, this is not like a Google search of songs per se, but streaming Radio over the net that is customized to what you add. You can create up to 100 Radio channels and e-mail the link to your friends.

I was given the choice to tell the interface not to play particular songs and the preferences clearly adjusted to what I was saying yes and no to as I listened to songs. Tivo had this with the thumbs up and thumbs down feature, but it really sucked and was poorly implimented. Pandora's detailed indexing takes 20-30 minutes per song for academically music trained individuals to rate 400+ music qualities.

No single artist will create songs that I like 100% of the time. An artist may make one song out of 50 that I happen to like. Or they may make 10 of 15 that I like. So how do I find these songs? Through Pandora!

So this use of information in an instaneous "Real-Time Learning Radio" is something that I never thought of before. Interestingly, the CEO says that his company had a very difficult time getting things off the ground. This was mainly because he and his small group of guys couldn't xactly figure out the best packaging and use of the information. They initially tried to be an online "learning" Music store, but with poor results. This Pandora re-invention of the company appears to be taking off. I'm so very glad that they did this.

According to the CEO, they are indexing just over 7,000 new and older songs a month. There are approximately 50,000 UPC coded CD's released a year. At 12 songs per CD on the average, that's 600,000 songs a year. They're only able to cover 105,000 songs per year and have been doing this for 7 years. As their indexing grows, my music listening experience will only get better. What a labor of love this task has become for the company.

Speaking of labors of love... this Blog started as a way to make the information that I was finding on the net for my MBA application process easily accessible. Thanks for all your comments and encouragements. I'm amazed that this web site has now become the number one MBA Application Blog.

I truly enjoying reading all your e-mails thanking me for creating this unique Web resource and that my work had something to do with you being able to reach your dreams. I'm sorry about not being able to respond to all your e-mail. It's just overwhelming to try and handle everything at once. Keep the comments and encouragements coming though. I'll be posting excerpts from them on the Blog at some point after I receive permission.

May all our wishes and DREAMS come closer to being reality this year in 2006.

So go check Pandora out. At least you can listen to some great music as you pursue your goals and dreams.

From a business perspective, I see this online Radio service as rather limited in how far it can go without selling the company or having an effective advertisement model. I foresee this thing being integrated with iTunes if Apple can begin talks with these guys soon. Perhaps Pandora can stay independent like Google and license their services like Google has for many search engines.


Blogger ... said...

How is Pandora any different from Launch that Yahoo! started up a good while ago? What am I missing? :-\

10:50 PM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

Ty Coon, good question, the "Launch" feature is based on a user inputed rating system. Sort of like Amazon's, "People who purchased this book, also purchased these books".

Pandora is a sophisticated rating system that musically trained individuals create. Not your garage musician variety, but your academically trained ones. They don't use bias of the song to influence their rating. They strictly use music qualities according to the 400+ index areas. Take the voice for example. The same musician may sing raspy on one song and heavy metalish on another. For all intent and purpose, a "Yahoo Launch" rating wouldn't detect or show this differentiation. The Pandora one would not only detect your preference between the two, but would also detect the tempo, bravado, female/male and volume of the voice.

In other words, the Pandora ratings are truly scientific and not opinion based.

11:01 AM  
Blogger sghama said...

Pandora is cool. Thanks for introducing this

5:40 PM  

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