Personalised media is great. Pandora, Last.FM, Matchmine, even YouTube, are essentially your own radio stations. But you can go further than that, and actually create radio stations with friends and then beam them to a stereo. Your very own radio station on your very own radio. How cool is that?
I like Pandora. Why? Because, despite its almost imminent demise, and that Last.FM is probably cleverer in its use of the wisdom of masses, I prefer its simplicity. I find I can explain Pandora quickly to people, and they get it. And I prefer the music it comes up with. Try selecting Nick Drake as your radio station, and spend the rest of the evening listening to sublime solo guitar and breathy vocals. It also has a funky interface which people like.
I also like Pandora because it’s really simple to get everyone involved. OK, so Last.FM is more community-based, but that requires that everyone sets up their own account. With Pandora, everyone can access my account, easily select a station, and we’re done. So, at my company we now have over 20 artists represented, and we effectively have our own station that, when played through the Quickmix, represents the company’s musical DNA.
Furthermore, I’ve hooked my computer to our in-house stereo via the marvellous Logitech wireless music system. This is essentially a USB soundcard replacement with wireless transmitter, in that, after plugging it into your computer, everything that once went through your soundcard now goes through the Logitech USB widget. And this does mean everything – Pandora, Last.FM, iTunes, Media Player, RealAudio, Quicktime, YouTube. Anything that would normally come through the computer speakers is instead transmitted through the USB widget.
It’s about the same size and shape as a USB memory stick, but with a small antenna on it. At the other end is a receiver about the same size and shape as a pack of cards, again with an antenna. Simply plug that into your stereo’s Aux in sockets, switch it to Aux in, and you’re laughing. Ha ha. It even has a remote control. It’s so simple even my father managed to set it up when I bought it for him last Christmas.
So, on a Friday afternoon, instead of news bulletins, if we want to listen to good music that we all like, I simply plug the Logitech widget into my – or anyone else’s – machine, fire up Pandora, and we’re good to go. No more adverts, no more cheesy DJs, and definitely no more Gwen Stefani.