As a kid, when I visited the library, I’d tell the librarian the authors I liked and they’d suggest others who wrote similar books. Sometimes I didn’t like what they recommended, most of the time I’d find a new author and a swag of new books to consume. When it comes to music, these days my music librarian is Pandora the face of the Music Genome Project.

The concept of Pandora is simple, you tell it a musician or piece of music that is typical of the music you want to listen to and it creates an entire online radio station for you, based on information it knows about the music you’ve chosen. It finds, in its collection, songs that have similar characteristics to the music you like and it sereves them uup to you one at a time. Within minutes you’er sure to find new artists and bands you never knew existed. Pandora has a great feedback system too, you get to tell it if the choice it has made for you is music you like or that you don’t like – smply click the thumbs up or thumbs down button and it takes note of your opinion. If it’s thumbs up it continues to play the song, if you don’t like it, Pandora moves forward to the next song.

You’re not limited to one station either. If Monday mornings are Leonhard Cohen and Fridays party time, you can create different channels to match your mood by seeding the channel with a single type of music., In fact that’s an important feature of Pandora, it works best when you keep different moods separate in different ‘stations’.

While the music is playing you can get on with your day or, if you have the Pandora site still visible, you’ll see the album art for the current track and ask Pandora why that track was played. You can use the Menu option to move the track to another station or to buy the track from Amazon or iTunes. You can also select Backstage to learn more about the artist that you’re listening to.

Pandora is free and fun to use. You can create up to 100 stations so that should keep you entertained for some time. The music library there is not exhaustive but it is expanding and you don’t need anything special to listen to the music apart from a web browser and the flash player add-in which you probably have already. To enjoy the service you will need a broadband connection as it doesn’t support dial-up connections.

Find Pandora here and, if you like, listen to my stations here.

Helen Bradley