Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pandora.com gives music fans control over their music

Technology Column – Rick Galusha

With greater and greater rapidity the technological advances we see on computers are being applied to cellular telephones. Once ‘just a phone,’ the cell phone is now a music player, an on ramp to the internet, a credit card, a camera and video recorder, a planner, a calculator, a radio (including satellite), a video game, a tv (including cable) a key for real estate lockboxes, an audio/video GPS device and some allow editing on Excel or Word spreadsheets.

It doesn’t take much imagination to foresee that the advance of cellphones spells the death keel for iPods, PDA’s, GPS and other forms of technology. The move is afoot to condense numerous electronic gadgets into one and some advocate that it be the ever evolving cellular. The current cellphone networks play a trump card in the ensuing battle. In a recent product presentation for the Verizon ‘Juke’ phone it was said that Apple sold “one hundred million iPods” and that the Juke was being introduced in order to go after that market. The Motorola Q9 is already out and designed to hold a 32 gig chip for music and video – if you can find a chip that big. Clearly the audio/ visual assets of the new Q are also targeted after the successful iPod.

I’m no tech guru – I’m probably more like you, stumbling across things that friends recommend. Recently a fantastic music related website came to my attention; Pandora.Com. This is a music intense website that allows the listener to steer what’s played on the streaming musical broadcast. What’s more, you can influence the stream by choosing more than one ‘core’ artist to help Pandora’s algorithms pick more songs that may, or may not, appeal to you. As the songs play the listeners is invited to give a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ vote on a song/ artist. Two thumbs down on an artist and, unless you’ve picked them as a core artist, their music is banned permentatly from the station. So the ability to have some influence over what’s being played makes this site delicious. What adds to the flavor is that the site will inevitably play bands you’ve never heard of and suddenly you’re off on a new musical exploration. Listeners are invited to have numerous ‘radio stations’ on the site (up to 100), for multiple genres of interest, and you’re encouraged to share “your superior station” with that friend whose musical taste simply can’t hold a candle to yours.

Like a lot of websites, Pandora.com does have a mobile-phone aspect to it so, at least theoretically, you could stream it on your phone and then Bluetooth it over to your car or home stereo. So unlike a lot of music websites, Pandroa.com has a limited aspect of mobility to the website too. Currently Pandora works on only select phones on the AT&T and Sprint networks. At the bottom of the homepage is the ‘mobile’ tab. Also, you can subscribe to Pandora. I can’t imagine this website being around for long enough – it really is wonderful and the perfect at work audio companion – but I wonder how the income stream can support the Ivy League educated executives the website lists.

Under the “Pandora Presents” tab is an educational adjunct to the site. Created by serious musicologists, Pandora.com includes a series of podcasts that range from ‘what’s a trip hop beat’ to ‘the blues scale’ to ‘word choices in lyrics.’ So musicians as well as curiosity seekers can learn more about the ‘how’s’ and ‘why’s’ of how music is really made. These are near college level lectures filled with information and they can be automatically downloaded to your computer.

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