Toolbar: Online Radio That Only Plays Music You LIke


Do you sometimes feel like you’ve been listening to a stuck record, because as you get older, you hear less new music? That’s why we like Pandora Radio. Whether you enjoy Beethoven or the Talking Heads (or both), this free online service lets you discover and listen to new music based on your favorite artists, by helping you to create personalized “radio” stations.

How Do You Set Up Pandora Radio on Your Computer?

In your browser, go to and register for a free account by providing a small amount of information.  After it’s created, you’ll see a box at the top left of the home screen, “New Station: Type in artist, genre or composer.”  When you click in it, this pop-up opens:

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While writing this article, I typed in one of my favorite artists, Frank Sinatra, and immediately Frank was singing to me, “I’ll Be Seeing You.”  Two more classic Sinatra songs played – “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Swinging on a Star.”  Then the cool Pandora surprise occurred: The website played me Nat King Cole’s “Almost Like Being in Love” played, followed by “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” sung by Dean Martin.  And so it went: The majority of the songs I heard were sung by Sinatra, but Pandora included other songs that were similar, including some I had never heard, in my Sinatra “station.”

How Does Pandora Know What Other Songs You Might Enjoy?

Since 2000, Pandora has been working on the Music Genome Project, the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. A trained team of musicologists listens to and analyzes songs using up to 450 distinct musical characteristics. They note each track’s attributes, such as melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals and lyrics, and based on this detailed information stored in the Music Genome Project, Pandora recognizes and responds to individual tastes to create personalized stations.  Isn’t that music to your ears? 

More Pandora Features

With each song it plays, Pandora gives lyrics and info about the artist, and suggests similar artists to explore. As you listen, you can give each selection a thumbs up or down – your actions serve as feedback for Pandora, which creates an ever more accurate picture of your preferences.  Think of Pandora as a radio that listens to YOU!

Pandora incorporates social networking features, so you can create a profile, see what your friends are listening to, and connect to Facebook and Twitter for sharing

The free Pandora app for iPad is available in the iTunes store.  It’s also available for other tablets – including the Nook and Kindle Fire – and for smartphones.  A paid version (Pandora One) is available without ads for $36 for a one-year subscription or $3.99 for a one-month subscription.

My ever-growing list of stations includes Broadway Showtunes, The Beatles, Michael Buble and, my guilty pleasure, songs by the Glee cast.

What personalized radio stations will you create? 


3 responses to “Toolbar: Online Radio That Only Plays Music You LIke

  1. I personally get tired of hearing the same old music on every station, plus a bunch of commercials. I use to listen to free online radio. So far, they don’t have any commercials or fees. I hope they stay that way.

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