I strongly urge everyone to check out www.pandora.com.
I read about in a WSJ story a while ago and finally checked it out recently. It is really quite brilliant. They have something called the Music Genome Project, which has broken music down to its essential elements. Basically, you enter an artist, album or even single song you like and they put together playlists they think you’ll also dig. Then the music plays and you give it a thumbs up (adds it to a playlist) or thumbs down (axes it and moves on).
It is really a great, great way to freshen up your music listening. I have discovered or rediscovered some great, great music. Artists I like but forget to listen to.. or songs by them I didn’t know, or only barely. And also a bunch of new artists for me. I really recommend this in the strongest possible terms.
I have been playing and listening to the Dead’s “Sugaree” a lot for instance. I entered that song and they start streaming music from Uncle Tupelo, CCR, the Who, Paul McCartney, Stray Cats, some I didn’t know (the Only Ones, Hefner).. and I really like a lot of it. It’s very cool. This single service will probably lead me to buy/download more music than anything else has since I was 15 and reading Rolling Stone and rushing to buy whatever guys like Dave marsh said I should like.
I’m curious to try some more esoteric choices, like Doc Cheatham or Ruby Braff or Ben Webster.. maybe some hip hop.. and see what comes up. It is pretty uncanny.