Suggested recently by Bee, Pandora has immediately managed to eclipse ShoutCast as my online streaming music player. ShoutCast is great but basically a simple collection of online radio stations, streamed to the users without giving them any control on what they listen to other than by switching stations.

In comes Pandora. Rather than broadcasting set radio stations from different origins, Pandora only relies on itself to provide you with music. And it does that – extremely well – with a twist: you setup your own radio stations based on your tastes. How is that done? Simple. You define a station by choosing a song or a band of your choice. Pandora then automatically creates a station for you that will play music similar to that song.

And that’s where Pandora becomes totally innovative. Rather than basing their music selection simply on bands or genre the way most stations do it, they have actually built a huge database of all contemporary music after having completely analyzed it according to influences, key, beat, instruments, harmonies and many more. Analyzing a song to be included in the Music Genome Project (the 400,000 songs database itself) takes 20-30 minutes and up to 400 attributes of the music are studied in the process.

You will be served a cocktail of songs based on their similarities with your initial selection and can even approve or disapprove of the results to better tune – pardon the pun – the station. You can skip or bookmark songs and even find out more about them. The bottom line is that Pandora aims at helping you discover new music fitting your tastes, and it excels at it.

Add a very slick interface, and you’ve got a superb – and free – product, well worth the two minutes required for registering.

Wanna give it a try? Type in an artist name or song…