Gaming Pandora

Although I was excited when Pandora began to provide classical selections, I was quickly disillusioned.  The biggest problem is that classical pieces don’t break down nicely into radio sound-play excerpts.   When I hear a movement from a symphony, concerto, or other suite, I usually long to hear the rest.  It is not equivalent to different tracks on an album.  The situation seems to have improved but I find that I am spending more time on other stations on my Pandora Custom Stations list.

That’s Pink Floyd?

Occasionally it is very difficult for me to establish a genre on a Pandora station.  I first learned this when I set out to create a David Bowie station.  All I learned was how much David Bowie material there was that I didn’t like.  I woke up to Bowie, as it were, with Ziggy Stardust.  I obtained a few other albums and I Bowie perform on the Serious Moonlight Tour at the Carrier Dome.  So there is a Bowie sub-genre that is what works for me.  I despaired of training Pandora to find the spot for me and I haven’t visited that station in some time.

Another station worked quite differently for me.  I am also a Pink Floyd fan.  There is also Pink Floyd that I don’t like.  I now have my station trained to play practically every version of Another Brick in the Wall they have recorded.  That’s great, although I would really like more on the Distant Sound of Thunder groove. 

No, the problem with my Pink Floyd station is that Pandora keeps suggesting songs by other artists that I do like but that I don’t associate with Pink Floyd at all.  I can see what might be the connection, but the associations are not what puts me in a Pink Floyd state of mind.  Billy Joel, Steve Perry, Tom Petty, and Genesis just don’t fit for me. 

Pandora allows a selection to be moved to a different station.  That was a problem.  I liked these non-Pink suggestions, but I didn’t have a station that was always appropriate but I didn’t want to lose the recommendation.

Finding Classic Album Rock … My Number, at Last

So far, I have solved my problem in having Pinkness on the Pink Floyd channel with two smart moves.

First, I added some artists to my Pink Floyd station that I figured would give me more-likely Pandora Picks.  The first artists that I added are Emerson, Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, and Yes.   You might be starting to see my warped musical background at this point.

Secondly, and this is a terrible disclosure, I created a Classic Album Rock station.  That title doesn’t work with Pandora, so I created an REO Speedwagon station (really) and renamed it to Classic Album Rock. 

Pandora does a kind of training by playing a song from the selected artist.  I gave "Can’t Fight This Feeling" a thumbs up.

Next, Pandora offers a different artist that has a strong genre match.  I gave Boston’s "More Than a Feeling" another thumbs up.

So far I have not put one selection on the Thumbs-down list.  Here is the subsequent play list that Pandora offered up:

    • Huey Lewis and the News: Do You Believe in Love
    • Eric Clapton: Let It Rain
    • Jackson Browne: Walking Slow
    • Fleetwood Mac: Monday Morning (thumbs up)
    • The Open Mind: My Mind Cries
    • The Kinks: You’re Lookin’ Fine
    • The Rolling Stones: Wild Horses (thumbs up)
    • Fleetwood Mac: Gold Dust Woman
    • Cat Stevens: Wild World (Live)
    • Scott McKenzie: San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers in Your Hair) (wow, really takes me back)
    • Little River Band: Lonesome Loser
    • Journey: Feeling That Way
    • REO Speedwagon: Keep On Loving You
    • Scorpions: No One Like You
    • Van Halen: You Really Got Me (David Lee Roth version)
    • Kansas: Carry On Wayward Son
    • Boston: Peace of Mind
    • Collective Soul: Shine
    • The Cars: Tonight She Comes
    • Queen: You’re My Bestfriend

Wow, it’s like listening to Philadelphia’s WMMR in the 60s and, later, to Brother Weez in Rochester, without the commercials and the chatter.  What a win for a peaceful Sunday noon while I prepare to take my OLPC XO-1 out to play. 

I wonder when I’ll hear from Foreigner and Jethro Tull.  D’ya think Motown is unlikely?  Heh.

I hate to confess that Pandora now has my number.

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