I recently started using a service called Pandora on the Internet. It is a music-discovery and streaming service. Start with a favorite song or artist (creates smaller and larger stations depending on type of input) and Pandora searches the Music Genome Project for similar music. What’s cool about it is the fact that it crosses genre, artist, and popularity lines; each song is its own little thing, listed by its own specific attribute set.
There are some things, like no rewind and a song-skip limit, but these are due to the company’s music licenses. There are two versions: Free and Paid. The free version is supported by banner ads and (sometime in the future) audio ads in the music. The paid version is modestly priced, starting at $12 for 3 months and $36 for a year. All subscribing does is remove the ads; the same skip-limiting and no-rewind limitations are present.
That said, I have found a work-around to the skip limitation. If you’re listening to a song you don’t like, you click the Thumbs-Down button and Pandora skips to the next one. Unless you’ve made six skips on that station in the last hour. Then the song keeps playing. To skip the song, click another station in your list (if you don’t have another station, just pause the music and create a dummy station for this purpose) and click back to the station you’re listening to. The bad song will be skipped. Just make sure to do it as quickly as possible, to make sure that a song doesn’t start in the “switch-hack” station. Keep in mind that this also works any time you want to skip a song without using any of your allocated skips, Thumbs-Downed or just because you’re tired of it. Try to keep your clicks less than one or two seconds apart. Hope this helps any frustrated users!
The service is supported by nearly every browser and operating system the world over. All that is required is a reasonably recent version of Adobe Flash; the player is cross-browser and cross-platform.
It has helped me discover lots of new music, in addition to having a lot of my favorites. Try it out at http://www.pandora.com/ and see what you think.
Update 09/11/2007: The above workaround for song-skip limiting no longer works in the new version of the Pandora player.