Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Music Genome Project

For years, I relied on the ever-shifting roster of young hipsters that newspapers typically attract (the best part of working for a newspaper is getting to work with a bunch of really smart people) for music recommendations.

But since Jay Ford Cullis left, and I no longer get those CDs of dubious provenance dropped off on my desk like welcome cards to a world of new sounds, I have had to try a little harder on my own to find new bands. My guiding principle is that there is a lot of good, even great, musicians out there who deserve an audience. As a music fan, I owe it to myself to find them.

Fortunately, I am not the only person who thinks this way. One of my inspirations for writing more about music was Ojai resident and screenwriter J.B. White, who, as a singer-songwriter and guitarist with Household Gods (voted Ojai's best band), and with a musically talented daughter with an ear for the pulse of excellent music, validates my musical choices with his unassailable credentials.

Others out there like him exist too, albeit with different genres and favorites. The one thing we all seem to have in common, though, is Pandora. Pandora is an offshoot of the Music Genome Project. "Like having your own personal DJ" goes their website blurb.

It's simple. Just type in, then create as many stations as you like, with your favorite artist or song as the starting point. You can endlessly tailor the stations, too, with thumbs up or down, with skipping past certain songs, and you get a wealth of information about the artists and albums at one click. I listen to them all day, or whenever I'm not listening to SomaFM, my favorite internet radio station on iTunes.'s founder Tim Westergren (don't know if he is any relation to The Replacement's Paul Westergren) explains it here:

The Music Genome Project

On January 6, 2000 a group of musicians and music-loving technologists came together with the idea of creating the most comprehensive analysis of music ever.

Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.

Over the past 6 years, we've carefully listened to the songs of over 10,000 different artists - ranging from popular to obscure - and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time. This work continues each and every day as we endeavor to include all the great new stuff coming out of studios, clubs and garages around the world.

It has been quite an adventure, you could say a little crazy - but now that we've created this extraordinary collection of music analysis, we think we can help be your guide as you explore your favorite parts of the music universe.

We hope you enjoy the journey.

Tim Westergren
The Music Genome Project


Blogger TimofSuburbia said...

Expand your Pandora experience at...



12/16/2006 9:14 PM  

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