I vaguely recall coming across Pandora a long time ago, and not making much of it, but Euan has managed to get himself hooked on it and, as an old radio guy, I can see why. (OK, so I've pumped a fair bit of time into it myself this morning)
The premise is a good one and based on the Trivial Pursuit model for business generation;' we have all this damned information, what the hell are we going to do with it?"
So the system takes either a song or an artist that I like and uses its algorithms to figure out what else I might like from artists producing similar work. And its pretty well on track. It did a great job of finding some Rita Coolidge overlaps and made a fair fist of Scott Walker/ Engels. Actually, I'm impressed that it even knew about Plastic Palace People.
Like any radio station I don't get to determine which songs they play nor by which artist (its in their license they say, which would make sense) but, like every radio station they have to feed me stuff that I will probably enjoy or I'll go somewhere else, in this case to tweak the feed or start another "station".
I can also email the link to my station to anyone I like and I can subscribe to the "Top 10 stations" which has me foxed a little, there is no way for me to discover any other stations so its not at all clear how the top 10 get that way.
The menu needs to include an option that lets me choose a station created by people whose selections include the songs that I have said I like. I should be able to set the overlap from one song only to 100%. ie, that all of my preferred songs appear somewhere in the stations created by any given "Station Owner"
Maybe they could create some social capital by featuring "Station Owners" whose stations are most often subscribed to by others and giving them their own section on the page. There's plenty of screen real estate to play with.
There also needs to be some way to share information with other site users about the music that excites or we enjoy.
I'm also hoping that they are aggregating the clicks into an algorithm to see whether the collective decisions of their users are anything like as interesting as their professional music evaluators are at finding related music that I would enjoy.
I'm not sure of the connection, but Tim at PandoraStations has a site up for users to do pretty well everything I've suggested above, I just can't see why Pandora doesn't do it within the interface for the station.