As /. have been recently comparing different music suggestion engines, and I'm a big fan of this kind of Internet websites, and a very satisfied user of last.fm, I decided to give Pandora a try.
I took a look at my favourite songs at last.fm, because I never remember what I really like if I don't have it all on a nice list ;-), for something that I liked but didn't quite knew many songs like it. I would be totally sold if Pandora found something cool and new in the first few tries.
First I tried "Bruised" by Sugababes. I figured they'd at least know a lot about Pop. Their proposals were kinda ok, but nothing exceptional. On the other hand the explanations were really funny, like this one for "I Love Rock'N'Roll" by Britney Spears:
Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features a subtle use of vocal harmony, mild rhythmic syncopation, a vocal-centric aesthetic, minor key tonality and many other similarities identified in the music genome project.Wow :-)
Well, it's probably hard to find good propositions based on so little information. Anyway, I moved further, trying to start from "Purunematu" by Vanilla Ninja. Pandora didn't know about it, or about anything else by Vanilla Ninja for that matter. Oh well, so trying "Shallow Water" by Sylver instead maybe ? Oh it sure knows "Shallow Water", it's a country song by Randy Travis. Darn ;-)
A few more tries. Groove Coverage ? No. Alizee ? No. I was almost going to go back to last.fm at this point, but at least it knew Ayumi Hamasaki. Well, a few more tries just out of curiosity - it doesn't know Closterkeller or Special D, but it knows Lisa Loeb and Rammstein. So the selection is weak but maybe not fatally weak. I suppose it's all just labels politics, meh.
I wasn't sold on the interface either. I couldn't figure how to rate a song that just finished playing, it seemed that one can only rate one that's being played right now. (Finally I got it, apparently the right thing is clicking on album cover pic, not on the song title.)
So to sum it up, if you want some nice music recommendations, try last.fm. If you're bored and want to see something differnt than user clustering, you may also give Pandora a try, but don't expect too much. User clustering is still pretty much state of the art in 2006. ;-)