Everyone loves music, but sometimes it’s hard to find more songs in the genre that you love. It’s even more difficult when you have music drifting around you but no way to pick out the ones that you like. That’s why there are software (free ones!) out there that can help you find your next favorite song. Pandora, founded by the Music Genome Project in 2000, is an online music site that offers recommendations for songs based on one song or artist that you choose. Genius, a component of the ever so popular iTunes, takes what you have your library and makes a playlist of songs similar to a certain song. Both are awesome ways to listen to music, but they are used for different purposes. I’m rating the two based on accessibility, variety and accuracy. Hopefully this article will aid you in your search for music.

Hands down, if you want variety and new music that you will like, get on Pandora.com and make an account. Pandora is the place to find music that is similar to songs that you already know. Pandora is different from Genius in that it finds music through a meticulous analysis of such things like minor or major tonality, genre roots, tempo, vocals, etc.  I type in Theory of a Deadman and get Nickelback and Three Days Grace—both of which are also on my playlist. The Music Genome Project makes sure to cross-examine and pick out songs that have similar sounds. If one song so happens to be dissonant to your ears, you have the option of pressing the thumbs-down button and vice versa. The selection is always adapting to your needs. In addition, you get 40 hours to listen to music, which is a lot. According the Pandora, there’s only a small population of people who listens for all 40 hours and whose amount of free time is considered to be severely dangerous and ill used.

Though Genius provides variety, it sometimes provides you with unwanted variety. The software feature has only a certain library to pick out music from, and the music is also compiled through user and collaborative ratings. Now, what I can tell you is that some people have different ideas of what rock is or what contemporary means…but the outcome of Genius compilation is occasionally questionable. Sure, it’s convenient; you won’t have to spend the ten long, agonizing minutes to put together a playlist, but if you want accuracy, Genius is not one to invest in. Erik Fong ‘14, a lover of alternative rock and West Coast rap, comments: “I use Pandora when I want to go on an adventure. Genius is great, but it’s stuff that I have already heard before. Pandora is a whole new world.” You want something to spice up your musical life? Go on an adventure with Fong.

Both Pandora and Genius gather music into one playlist for your own enjoyment, so in the category of accessibility, they have equal standing. Both require accounts, but there are no costs involved. For Pandora, you can connect to Facebook and see what your friends like and are listening to. Genius lets you see what other users are listening to and more. Your mood suddenly changed from happy go-lucky to I-hate-my-witch-of-a-teacher? Switch from your Taylor Swift station to Disturbed so that you can find that angst-filled and murderous sounding songs you are looking for. Easy.  If you have Taylor Swift or Disturbed songs on your iTunes, Genius is also a great choice.

Some things that may or may not be cons about Pandora is that there are advertisements that each last roughly 30 seconds and that there is only a certain number of skip options. Since Pandora is a free website where you get to listen to music without having to pay a cent, the website has to find another way to support itself—which is perfectly understandable. In its FAQ section, Pandora says,Pandora’s streaming music service is associated with significant costs, including music royalties we pay on every song we play. Advertising allows us to cover those costs while offering you [the listeners] a lot of great music for free.” Really, if you have a bit of patience, you will survive the 15-30 seconds. Besides, you have time to check your Facebook page during the wait time. Also, if you dislike some selections from your Pandora playlist, you can skip but only for a limited time.

All in all, it’s obvious that I despise Pandora with a passion. Regardless, you don’t have to choose one over the other. It is your choice to use whatever you want. Hey, maybe get fresh with your search for music and use both Pandora and Genius. However, if you’re looking for adaptability, great song choices, and a nearly endless option of music, Pandora can be the right choice for you.

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