I have enjoyed streaming a vast variety of Internet music for some time... I like the ability to discover new artists and music as well as a nearly infinite selection of styles and artists to suit my mood.
I have to say of all of the services I have tried, Yahoo music did the best. They had a decent selection of downloadable music, but even more content they could stream to you, and I made great use of their "Artist Fan Station" Feature... which let you browse to an artist, and hear similar music, either by that artists or by other artists which were rated highly by people who liked that artist. They made extensive use of their music and artist rating systems to datamine information, the result was very good; Their client software, Vista, and then X64 support was terrible... and left me searching for a new music service..
So I tried URGE, Microsoft's answer... well it worked in X64 and supported plays for sure; even used the same back end data of Yahoo music for the library, but their client was dumb, dumb, dumb... a few celebrity raido stations, bad "similar artist" selections, no access to music that wasn't downloadable; which cut the artist and song selection way down for me... and ultimately I couldn't find any music I wanted to listen to that I didn't already own.
Then came Zune... Well its better, but again their UI is frustrating, you cant really discover anything, unless its new and advertised to you "Clear Channel Style"... So much for broadening your music tastes, or discovering new artists.. and they seemed to do away with the idea of radio stations all together.... And ratings, well I guess I wast sophisticated enough to rate my own music... So there were starts, but I don't know where they came from... The future ui, got worse not better, it got even harder to make your own playlists, apparently if they weren't going to do "stations" then neither should you... If this wasn't pretty much the only way to manage music on my mp3 player, it would be so uninstalled. (just waiting for the USB Mass Storage Driver for the Zune, so it will show up as a drive letter, no wonder why Microsoft doesn't want one out there)...
Then relief finally came my way... A really nice radio station only type of service... Pandora.com... O and its free... You set up your own stations based on artists or songs you like, and it streams away; the music index is based off the Music Genome Project a database of music based on musical styles and characteristic (not marketing and advertising departments)... their client is flash based, and so it runs in your browser... if you find a new song or artist, you can just bookmark it, and head over to Amazon and pickup the Mp3's ... no drm, no hassle, no subscription, and off you go...
If you haven't tried Pandora, I strongly recommend you check it out.
Thanks for the tip Wyatt
As long as you're in America that is. They've now blocked access to people in the UK. ;)
Though I like Pandora, I still prefer last.fm (http://last.fm/). It's much more web 2.0 ;-)
Thanks for passing along Wyatt's tip, Dan! Wyatt always was into music in a big way. I'm enjoying Pandora right now. Discovering new artists is so difficult and I think you're right that Pandora will be a great service for that.
Few sites on the Internet impress me anymore, or even interest me to be honest. I hit Yahoo News and