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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > TV & Media

TV & Media Non-Trek television, movies, books, music, etc.

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Old May 12 2011, 03:34 AM   #1
Temis the Vorta
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Location: Tatoinne
training Pandora channels - successes and failures

Has anyone tried to create multiple channels with Pandora, to see what kind of music is "like" a particular composer, group of composers, or style of music?

Here's what I've found:

Successes

Space Music. Seeds: Philip Glass, Robert Rich and Steve Roach, branched out into Brian Eno, Terry Riley and even some Moby. Most of my thumbs-ups are by people I've never heard of. I find I need to be eternally vigilant that I don't end up with too much cliched New Agey crap - tweeting birds, babbling brooks, Indian flutes - but overall, I've created a nice, consistent station that plays music that I think of as Space Music.

Thelonius Monk. Just starting with that one artist, Pandora quickly found all the compatible folks: Art Blakey, Charlie Parker, Chick Corea, John Coltrane, etc.

Failures

Gerschwin
and Impressionists. My experiments to start with George Gerschwin for one channel, and Impressionists (Debussy, Ravel, Faure, Satie) for another really haven't yielded much more than the composers I started with, plus a bunch of stuff I keep voting thumbs-down on. Maybe my categories are too narrow or Pandora's library is not broad enough.

Nuisances


For many of my stations, I am continually having to evict two formats that left on their own would grow like weeds to choke everything out: Film Scores and Classical Music. The complication is that some Film Scores do fit well in some channels - Philip Glass in Space Music, for instance. I think Pandora puts too much weight on Film Score as a category. If you like a score by Philip Glass, pretty soon John Williams is trying to horn his way in...sorry, Star Wars is the polar opposite of "Space Music," ironically enough.

Verdict

It's very easy to create nice Classical and Jazz stations, but what's the point? Just use iTunes to find a radio station in that style. Where Pandora excels is in creating very finely tuned stations for more esoteric tastes than can be found on iTunes radio, as long as it's not so esoteric that it really isn't a "category" at all.
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Old May 12 2011, 07:38 PM   #2
Spot's Meow
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Re: training Pandora channels - successes and failures

My stations are titled Favorites, Country, Christmas, Mellow Mix, and Soundtracks. Christmas and Country were pretty easy to train after entering only a few favorites, but sometimes the Country station will throw me something that obviously is not country. I only like 90s country really, so I have disliked a lot of the older and newer stuff and it has learned pretty well because they rarely come up anymore.

Soundtracks took a while to perfect because really when I created it I was only looking for Disney soundtrack songs. There are many longer orchestral pieces that I have liked as well though, mostly from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and other such movies. However, they keep trying to get me to listen to live broadway performances, which I immediately dislike.

Mellow Mix has been the hardest to train simply because its defition is personal to me and not any specific existing musical genre. These songs are slow and almost depressing sounding, but quite soothing. They range from Moonlight Sonata to Teardrop by Massive Attack.

Actually, I dislike quite a lot of songs that pop up. I usually use up all of my song skips for the hour pretty quickly. It's not that I'm picky about music (I like amost every genre - as evidenced by my Favorites station where I pretty much listen to anything), but sometimes I am in a really specific mood.

I do wish they had a way to dislike live performances without having to dislike the song itself. That is the biggest drawback (well, the only drawback really) to Pandora.
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Old May 12 2011, 08:05 PM   #3
Temis the Vorta
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Re: training Pandora channels - successes and failures

Pandora bases its picks on a list of song qualities. They should allow us to edit the list for each channel. Then you could delete "live performance" from the list (assuming it's there to begin with.)

I had a hard time evicting choral performances from my Space Music list.
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