Time Magazine's Best Apps of 2009 list.
The app has a pretty cool history. According to the website How Stuff Works:
Pandora relies on a Music Genome that consists of 400 musical attributescovering the qualities of melody, harmony, rhythm, form, composition and lyrics. It's a project that began in January 2000 and took 30 experts in music theory five years to complete. The Genome is based on an intricate analysis by actual humans (about 20 to 30 minutes per four-minute song) of the music of 10,000 artists from the past 100 years. The analysis of new music continues every day since Pandora's online launch in August 2005.Pandora is available on the web at www.pandora.com or can be downloaded to your iPhone for free. When you open up the app on your iPhone you are asked to register. If you've already created an account online, the app uses that information for you. To create an Internet Radio station, just type in the name of an artist, album, or song you like. I typed in Chicago, the name of the band I loved in the 1960s. At first Pandora only played me recordings by Chicago, which I enjoyed. After a few songs, the application branched out and played me a few familiar songs by the Police and Billy Joel. That was OK, I like them both, and thought they were a welcome change. It seemed uncanny that the application could figure me out so quickly.
Another Free Internet Radio option is called Slacker. If you tell Slacker you want to find music like that created and sung by Paul McCartney, it won't play any McCartney for you. Instead it will find artists with similar styles. Slacker tries to make connections between the artists you like and artists in a similar time period. And if you'd rather listen to music that has been preselected, Slacker offers professionally programmed stations.
After putting in Paul McCartney, I was surprised to find the iPhone playing Ramble On by Led Zeppelin. However, it was actually quite a good choice, and I hadn't realized I liked this music. Slacker, it turns out, is the lazy person's way of finding other music you may like.
Download Shazam onto your iPhone. Press the tab that says "Tag Now" and let the device "listen" to the song you are trying to identify. In very short order, the application comes up with the name of the tune, the artist singing it, the album name, genre and label. You can actually tap on the album information and buy it through the iTunes store.
A major disadvantage: The free application limits the number of times monthly you can "tag" a tune. This is too bad, because this application is addicting. Boomer's who use it will realize they can assist their memories pleasurably using this app. Shazam charges $4.99 for the complete version and has angered many iPhone users by this recent change. In the newest version of Shazam, you can also check to see if an artist is on tour and buy tickets!
So boomers, when you are getting tired of your iTunes library and can't think of anything to add to it, check out these three iPhone apps.