Looking for a way to hear new music but can’t afford satellite radio? I’ve got the perfect solution.

Pandora (the Music Genome Project) is a great web site where you put in a favorite song or artist and then Pandora "suggests" other artists/songs like the one you entered by playing the song. (Something about how it analyzes the tempo, harmony, etc. matches similar songs up on many dimensions.) You vote the individual songs up or down when they play. Vote the song up and it will find you songs like that one to play for you in the future. Vote the song down and you will never hear that song again. The first few times you use it (you’ll have to create a log-on name so the web site can find your station when you log back on), it’s pretty hit or miss. But eventually this wonderful thing happens. It knows you. It picks only songs you like. I feel like if only it would give me backrubs and take me to dinner once in awhile, I would marry the Pandora web site.

I have a few "stations" going: one with upbeat music when I’m in that mood, another has female jazz artists, one for hiphop when I’m channeling my inner thug. When you feel a station is pretty good, you can even share it with friends.

Of course on the site, they will attempt to sell you the service, which is very reasonably priced. What isn’t reasonable are the players it’s compatible with. Do I really want to spend $200 on a device that I can only listen to Pandora with? Not so much. True, you can listen on your cell phone but I don’t have one, nor do I believe that many cell phones are built for music listening anyway.  Plus Pandora only works with certain cell providers. What to do?

The good news is you don’t have to be sitting in front of your computer to listen to your Pandora station. What I have been doing is hooking up my computer to my stereo with a cable. The music can be as loud as I want it to be and when I want to have a party, I just tuck it under the stereo so no one has to stare at my computer all night.

So endless music that you like, no commercials. You get to hear a mix of the old stuff you love and the new stuff you probably will end up liking. And with the title and artists of the songs you like conviently listed, you can figure out which album to download next.

Happy listening… Tell Pandora I said hi, and ask if it got the cookies I baked it.

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