Which may be odd, considering I’ve been down on Pandora before, but there’s a big difference here between Pandora and Last.fm. Pandora and iTunes Genius have the same goal of giving you music that sounds similar to another track that you already know. When I use last.fm I’m not looking for that – I’m looking for something new.
Pandora seems to use a much more in-depth analysis of music to determine what sounds similar to what you’re already listening to – which is exactly what is at the core of iTunes Genius (besides selling your more music). iTunes Genius appears to just look at artists. This article from the New York Times details the incredible amount of data that is collected on each track they analyze.
Plus, I like this part:
He likes to tell a story about a Pandora user who wrote in to complain that he started a station based on the music of Sarah McLachlan, and the service served up a Celine Dion song. “I wrote back and said, ‘Was the music just wrong?’ Because we sometimes have data errors,” he recounts. “He said, ‘Well, no, it was the right sort of thing — but it was Celine Dion.’ I said, ‘Well, was it the set, did it not flow in the set?’ He said, ‘No, it kind of worked — but it’s Celine Dion.’ We had a couple more back-and-forths, and finally his last e-mail to me was: ‘Oh, my God, I like Celine Dion.’ ”
This anecdote almost always gets a laugh. “Pandora,” he pointed out, “doesn’t understand why that’s funny.”