Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I got Pandora to play Simple Man

Screenshot proof!

Pandora is one of those things that I can really get into. On the surface, it's an ad-supported way to discover new music. Beneath the surface, it's a way to explore how songs relate to each other, and to learn something about your musical tastes in the process. I tend to prune all of my Pandora stations carefully, thinking carefully about how giving a certain song the "thumbs-up" or another the "thumbs-down" might change the type of music that station plays.

I've got several stations, and the one I'm probably proudest of is my classic rock station, Rock of Marble and Gold. I created it several months ago, after my previous classic rock station skewed too far into heavy metal. When I created the new station, I decided, just for fun, to see if I could start with a single "seed," and get the station to play a specific song by another band only by giving songs "thumbs up" and "thumbs down," without adding any more "seeds." The "seed" I began with was the band Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and the song I was trying to get the station to play was "Simple Man," by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Last Saturday, several months after I had created the station, I told my lovely wife about my quest to get the station to play "Simple Man." I told her that the station had played Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" several times, so it was only a matter of time until it played "Simple Man." The very next day, I walked into the living room with my iPad, cranked the volume, and held it aloft in triumph: it was playing "Simple Man."

Perhaps it was an unusual goal, but it was a victory nonetheless!

In case you're interested, here are the songs I gave a "thumbs-up" to (it turned out that I never gave any songs a "thumbs-down")
And It Stoned Me, by Van Morrison
Have You Ever Seen the Rain, by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Doctor My Eyes, by Jackson Browne
Sweet Home Alabama, by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Dreams, by Fleetwood Mac
Cathedral, by Crosby, Stills, & Nash
Gold Dust Woman, by Fleetwood Mac
Midnight Rider, by The Allman Brothers Band
Simple Man, by Lynyrd Skynyrd

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