Pandora - good as advertised (metaphorically speaking)

I just tried out the new Pandora service, which finally went live Monday and at long last came out of its invite-only shell.  The service hosts your own custom radio shows (up to 100, I think) and shares them with friends.  It's a really neat idea, bridging the portability of RSS-style apps with old skool (you know, circa 2001) Internet audio.

But the products redeeming feature is based on a concept I've long been a fan of.  What I think is absoulety-freakin'-amazing is the Music Genome Project.  As a database guy, I marvel at the relational concepts and metadata that must be pumping through that engine, and I appreciate the clever genetics analogy use to market it.

I approached my Pandora test this morning rather subjectively, thinking it would be an indie-rich collection of songs, in which case I'd rather not pay the $36 annual fee...I don't need to pay to "discover music I'll like".  So to quickly discount the service, I plugged in "Iron Maiden" to find related music.  Pleasantly to my surprise, it's chock-full of mainstream artists sharing traits with the lads from across the pond, recommending tunes from Dokken, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, and of course, other Maiden mainstays.

Marketing-wise, I liked the links that let you buy that song's CD from Amazon, or individual tracks from iTunes.  I wasn't crazy about the Flash interface, but it grew on me.

Really nice service.  Where's my credit card?

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