Not long ago I wrote about Pandora the service that allows you to find music similar to your own tastes. It trawls through the Music Genome Project database to find similarly indexed tracks with fairly detailed tags such as “thick vocal harmonies” or “acoustic guitar riffs”, etc. In general I find it a great way to set up “radio stations” to listen to. The only problem sometimes is that you get a load of stuff that all sounds the same, as you might expect — that’s the idea after all.
But I was snooping around my friend Knotty’s blog over at [Knottorious Tumblelog] and I noticed a link to his Last.fm profile. So I checked it out and Last.fm is a kind of combination of Pandora and Flickr. Basically a music database similar to Pandora but one which uses a social networks and tagging to make the relevant recommendations. So far they have been pretty good and there are some entertaining features like the Del.icio.us-style tag cloud (Rock is, of course, the biggest. Sigh) as well as some free-standing players and media player plugins.
So, I’m giving it a go and the question is: Which works better – he Pandora database and algorithm or real people tagging music? So far I think Pandora is winning, but I’ll keep listening.