Thank you, Pandora

I’ve discovered a great band through Pandora that I want to share with everybody. Great Big Sea. The band’s lead singer, Alan Doyle, keeps a journal when they’re on-the-road, although it’s not officially a blog (I guess).

With Irish roots, I’m naturally (spiritually?) drawn to the sound of Irish music, but it would be a disservice to call these guys “Irish.” From Newfoundland, their music is pretty hard to describe, kind of melodic, sea shanty, powerful, Irish rock-n-roll. They have so much energy that the sound just leaps from the speakers and dances around the room, over and over again. I’ve yet to hear a bad song from GBS, and that’s saying something coming from me.

I LOVE this band, and I feel like I’ve just discovered a rich vein of gold.

But the story here isn’t the band; it’s the way I found them. I’ve written about Pandora before, and I want to restate that their methodology is the means by which we’ll overcome the pejorative “group think” that the pundits fear about the blogosphere and all things that relate to information distribution via the web. After I first wrote about Pandora, people commented that Last.fm was better. I think it’s a great site too, but their model of finding new music is based on the tastes of other people in the database who are listening to music similar to what you’ve chosen.

Call me a nut, but I think this can be manipulated, whereas Pandora’s algorithms are based solely on similarities to music styles that you’ve selected. Think about that for a minute. The algorithm can be created that’ll “read” your tastes in news and information and send more your way, and it wouldn’t be easy for big dollar institutional players to manipulate that.

I want to personally thank Tim Westergren and the folks at Pandora for opening these old ears to the sounds of a truly remarkable band in Great Big Sea.

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