Opening Up Pandora's Box
One of my favorite websites ever invented for the Internet is Pandora.
I've always loved learning about new or new-to-me artists that sound a lot like the artists already filling my iTunes account. Before Pandora, I used to type in artists or albums I liked into Amazon and then check the "Those who purchased this have also purchased this" section.
But Pandora takes that idea and makes it even better. I can create "stations" of my favorite artists, or even just a particular song from an artist. The stations will play songs from those artists, but they also branch out and create a "shuffle" quality. And instead of the guessing game that comes with listening to the radio and not knowing information about the song, Pandora takes care of that.
It provides song title, artist name, album information, lyrics, and even links to purchase the MP3.
My Pandora stations range from Ben Folds and the Spring Awakening soundtrack to Lady Gaga and New Kids on the Block (I added that one right around seeing them in concert with the Backstreet Boys... don't judge, it was amazing).
Lately I've been listening to the Rufus Wainwright station. Today I've heard live versions of songs from his Judy Garland review to songs from The Swell Season (stars of the film Once), Feist and Regina Spektor.
If you haven't opened Pandora's box, I highly recommend checking it out. There are Pandora apps for the iPhone and other devices, so you can even get your shufflin' music fix on the go.
And the best part? It's free!
The songs are often interspersed with ads, but it's a small price to pay for free music and the possibility of finding a new favorite song or band.