Top 40 radio was just what it sounds like. The 40 most popular songs played over and over and over. The idea –as I understand it– was people would rather hear the popular songs more frequently than have a bunch of new stuff mixed in.
The little station I worked at had a longer play list. Maybe 100 to 150 songs? It was pretty loose. Nobody got too upset if you mixed in something not in “the box.” But it was pretty easy to get burned out on the most popular songs if you played them every…single…day.
By the time I left in the mid-80s, I’d heard about all the music I needed for a while. And the only easy way to listen to music at the time was… on radio stations with very “tight” playlists. Somebody else was picking my tunes.
It was nearly 15 years before the iPod rekindled my interest in music. I ripped the few CD’s I had and started buying music on iTunes. It was nice.
The idea of “streaming” music didn’t immediately appeal to me. I wanted to “have” the songs. But when Pandora came along a couple of years ago, I gave it a try and was immediately hooked.
Now I start each day at the Coffee Zone (6:30) by popping in the ear buds and firing up one of my “stations” on Pandora. More on those in a moment.
When I hear a song I like, I give it a thumbs up. If I don’t care for the song, thumbs down immediately rejects it. I think you can reject up to 5 songs an hour. If I want to give my station more variety, I can add and artist or a song and Pandora will start mixing in similar music. It isn’t perfect but over time, Pandora gets better and better at playing songs I like.
And I can have as many stations as I want. If I’m feeling funky, for example, I jump over to my Al Greene station.
Pandora keeps a record of every song I vote up or down, including the date and time I did so. You can check this out if your interested. I can also bookmark songs and/or artists and post a link to Twitter or Facebook.
I was surprised by some of my choices. And by the percentage of new music by artists I’d never heard of. And songs I don’t think I’d hear on our local radio stations. And certainly not commercial-free. You can listen to 40 hours of Pandora a month for free. I opted for the paid version (Pandora One) which cost $36/year. Best money I spend.
Apps for the iPhone and iPad, of course.