Monthly Archives: July 2008

Pandora on the go

It’s no surprise that Pandora is an ear-opening musical experience. I first gummed up my office LAN with it years ago. But, other than giving great demo, I’ve rarely found Pandora as something I listened to for any extended period.

But taking it on the road? That’s a whole new and very rewarding experience.

Makes me think about that XM renewal looming next month, and whether it makes sense any longer. Even on EDGE, Pandora sounds great and the gaps between songs are tolerable.

My new favorite iPhone app: Shazam

We live in The Time of The Jetsons.

True, we may not yet have folding suitcase-cars. Or live in space cities. And our dogs won’t say “ruh-roh,” no matter how much we ply them with Snausages.

But we do have flat screen TVs. And robots. And treadmills.

Screen capture of ShazamAnd now we have this: The ability to know the name and artist of just about any song we hear, anywhere, as long as the iPhone is charged and ready to go. Thanks to the appropriately-named Shazam, the days of badly recreated songs, hummed for friends and family in the hopes that they’ll recognize your tuneless performance as the long-forgotten Elvis Costello song that it is, are over.

I think it’s magic. But apparently it really involves sophisticated pattern recognition:

Shazam’s service is built around a patented proprietary pattern recognition technology that can identify recorded audio even under noisy conditions. This song recognition technology enables users to recognize, tag, and interact with any piece of music at the time they hear it. The Shazam service runs on a hosted service platform and is driven by Europe’s largest music information database – over 3,200,000 music tracks, metadata and cover art.

However it does it, it works. And it’s wicked fast, even over EDGE. In my random testing, it scored 100% accuracy, both on songs played on the radio – just now it identified a current Carrie Underwood hit, an easy-listening jazz number by Sax Pack, and a French-language song by Lorie – and some demi-obscurities I threw at it from my personal collection, including a song each by Close Lobsters and Blind Lemon Jefferson.

Impressive.