Tagging is the most brilliant thing that’s happening to that phase of the internet that’s come to to be termed ‘Web 2.0’. You can do the photo tagging with Flickr. You can tag your movie preferences at Movielens. And now Last.fm and the phenomenal guys at Pandora.com has put their brilliant minds and expertise to make the online music exprience tailored to our individual fancies.
Last.fm works more like a Yahoo Messenger or Skype where you download the executable program to your personal computer and you click on the Last.fm icon on your desktop and play the songs according to your choice of artists or songs. I like their player window with all the neat designed icons to mark a song as favorite or ‘absolutely hate it’. You have to first create your profile on their site and then the best part starts. You tag your favorite artists and the site tracks your genre interests and preferences and cross tags it with thousands of choices of other users and you have musical neighbors who shares similar musical interests as yours. The best part of the whole Last.fm experience is it allows you to discover new music that you otherwise wouldn’t have. And all this without wasting much of your precious time looking for it (you can if you are willing and have a great time at it!) coz you can put the player on while you are working on other more important stuff on your computer and discover what new artists or songs the player randomly selects. Pretty sweet experience.
I’ve rambled on about Last.fm. Now wait till you get to check out pandora.com, like I did two days back and I’m hooked on it. These guys are one step ahead and gives you the player on the site itself(no need to download a program or anything). It’s a very simple interface (clean and absolutely brilliant). You can create your own station and keep adding the artists or songs of your choice. The sound quality is way better than last.fm. And I’m getting to like the Pandora buttons and experience. And their backend software is way more powerful coz it plays most of the songs (almost 95%) to your taste.
The story behind Pandora is quite interesting. In 2000, a bunch of musicians and some brilliant technologists got together to create what is called the ‘Music Genome Project’ – to capture the genes of the various styles and genres of musical forms out there and put it together into a comprehensive musical database. An enormous task of combining musical creativity with cutting edge technological brilliance. You only need to check out Pandora.com to figure out that these guys where shit serious about what they are doing.
And I like the name they picked for this enormous endeavour – ‘Music Genome Project’. Can’t beat that.
The important thing in all this is how net 2.0 is revolutionalizing the net and (like the iPod and cellphones) making it possible to individualize music according to our tastes.