Yes, I finally started using Pandora. I've known abut it for years, but never got around to trying it out until this week.
Pandora is a free, Internet radio station customized t your taste on the fly. To start using it, just go to Pandora.Com, type the name of an artist or song you like, and Pandora will start playing that music. Then it will choose something similar and play that. You give it a thumbs up or down and it gets to know you better. Add more artists and songs to it's list and it gets even better at finding music you like.
Or you can just listed to the recommendations of the person with the best musical taste ever. That would be me. The Cromely's World soundtrack is right here.
My list of artists includes everyone form Billy Joel to Twisted Sister -- Marty Robbins to Meat Loaf -- Jonathan Coulton to Shonen Knife.
The system actually does a pretty good job of recommending new stuff I might enjoy. The sound quality is good, and it doesn't appear to slow down my Internet connection in any significant way.
Beyond cool music, Pandora is also significant for it's place in the debates surrounding modern copyright, music licensing, and the dying nature of most terrestrial radio. Wikipedia offers a quick snapshot of some of the legal challenges and Congressional actions that have impacted Pandora.
Unfortunately, those challenges and issues mean that Pandora is not supposed to be available outside the US. I believe they filter by IP address. Fans across the world get around that with proxies and other techniques, however, again illustrating the futility of erecting structures to limit the flow of information. There are valid arguments in favor of and opposed to the free worldwide distribtuion of music. But regardless of what's right or wrong, it's going to happen.
And maybe in the coming years, the Chinese government will learn that, too.
In the meantime, I'll listen to my channel and tweak it with each recomendation. And ultimately, maybe I'll figure out why I'm doing this instead of just listening to iTunes on Shuffle mode.