Pandora is a one-of-a-kind internet streaming radio service that basically attempts to play stuff that you want to hear based on what you tell it you like. It works like this: You arrive at Pandora.com and tell it the name of an artist or song that you want to hear. Their system looks it up (quickly, might I add) and asks to make sure their result is what you had in mind. Then it starts playing the stuff you like. When the song ends, it puts on something else that is similar to what you wanted in the first place. You continue to tell it what you like and don't like by giving each new song a thumbs up or a thumbs down, so that it tunes itself to your tastes over time.
Most of the time this is an amazing way to discover new music you have never heard of but that you might really enjoy. Pandora provides links to directly buy whatever it is you're listening to, so if you're extra stoked on it you can just click and order a CD or downloadable mp3s right away.
Pandora also has a genius iPhone application that actually lets you stream music directly to the phone, making it even better than an iPod in many ways. This is the kind of innovation and super useful feature that users clamor over, and is a great example of what an excellent service Pandora provides.
How it works: The secret behind Pandora's incredible recommendation engine is actually thousands and thousands of man-hours. They have employed countless audiophiles to sit at computers and listen to CD after CD, categorizing and cross-indexing every artist, song, and genre to build an unbeatable stash of music recommendations!
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