As soon as you visit Pandora, you are prompted to type in the name of your favorite artist or song. Using a system known as the Music Genome Project, Pandora chooses music that you might like based on your selection. From there, it sets up a “station,” or a pool of tracks by artists who fit into the same category, which is defined by things like melody, harmony, rhythm, and instrumentation.
Pandora allows for the continual evolution of your station based on all of your previous choices, which you can rate by clicking a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” icon. Because of the way the songs are indexed, you could stumble across music you like that you've never heard of before.
Pure Jazz Radio:
Pure Jazz Radio plays jazz every day all day long. Hear anyone from the early days of jazz to contemporary innovators and every one in between. The station is programmed by Rich Keith, a New Yorker who has been promoting jazz on the air waves since the 1970s. You can tune in any time to hear great music, but you need Windows Media Player. Also, Frank Sinatra fans will be delighted to know that every Sunday features Sinatra all day, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Live365 gives you access to hundreds of radio stations all over the world. Live365 is not an interactive internet radio site the way Pandora is, but is a hub of live and pre-recorded radio broadcasts. Select your preferred genre, and be directed to a list of stations that are associated with it. I chose “jazz,” and the list contained stations broadcasting bebop, smooth jazz, and gypsy guitar jazz.
Live365 is a great way to tap into some new prospects if you are like listening to traditional radio, but are unhappy with your local station’s jazz content.
Rhapsody allows you to search for music you like by keyword, genre, or artist. Like Pandora, Rhapsody gives personalized suggestions based on your choices. Unlike Pandora, Rhapsody allows you to listen to an entire album from start to finish, and generally gives you more control over what you listen to at all times.
The catch is, you have to pay a fee, starting at $12.99 a month. However, before you commit to a membership plan, you get 14 free plays to determine whether or not you like the service. Rhapsody is ideal for people who end up paying more than $12.99 a month buying tracks on itunes or similar pay-by-the-track services.
Shoutcast is another streaming radio station hub, giving you access to hundreds of stations featuring a multitude of genres. It has a more streamlined site than Live365, letting you see what each station is playing before you decide whether or not to tune in.
RadioRow, like Live365 and Shoutcast, is a hub of streaming radio stations. But, instead of being able to tune in directly from the site, the list of jazz stations contains links to the stations’ websites, requiring more navigation to actually begin listening. On the plus side, RadioRow’s lists are formatted very simply, and therefore easiest on the eyes. It’s clear immediately where the radio station is located, and what style of jazz it features.
NPR’s Live at the Village Vanguard:
With a project co-led by NPR and Newark, New Jersey’s WGBO, the Live at the Village Vanguard series presents monthly performances given at New York’s famous Village Vanguard jazz club. You can tune in to hear the performance live, or download streams of previous performances from today’s jazz masters.