When I’m listening to music for an extended period of time while at work (not all that often anymore because I am usually sampling podcasts on and off), I had been firing up the Last.FM client and starting off a stream of music based on one artist off the top of my head. Before that I spent some years, including my grad school daze, primarily listening to albums (mp3s) or one of the local NPR or college/community stations. But WAY back in the day, while at my first real full-time desk job, I used to listen to Spinner (before it was purchased by Netscape, when I lost track of it and lost interest). It was similar to how I use Last.FM now, streaming content from my desktop. With Spinner, though, you had a bunch of pre-programmed channels by genre. I clicked on a genre and was fed content. Not as empowering as Last.FM, without all the social features, but it got me through the day. If I got bored with a station or didn’t want to listen to an artist, I’d just switch stations.
Lately I’ve been frustrated with Last.FM, mainly because I’m seeing less variety in the artists that come through. I don’t know if CBS has anything to do with that or if it’s in my head, but I’m finding many more dead ends than I was (IE I type in an artist I like and they either don’t know who that artist is or for some reason can’t stream that artist — either way I need to start over). Dead ends are frustrating when you need to work and just want something to play with minimal management.
Today I got a welcome reminder of why I liked Spinner so much in the Accuradio service. Like Spinner you have a bunch of channels to choose from that you just play and let go, and like Spinner they have a limited catalog of music their channels draw from, but it’s extensive enough that I can just choose a new channel each day so I don’t get bored (with some channels on Spinner, like the Old Punk channel, I could only listen to it for four hours or so until I’d start hearing repeats — but that’s the nature of a limited/dated genre). They have a lot more channels (and subchannels) than Spinner ever had, and unlike Spinner they have channels especially for listening to while sitting at a computer doing other stuff, like Office Friendly (Spinner had an ambient channel that was good for working to, but sometimes it made me sleepy). In fact one could say they have a silly number of channels, including a plethora of Christmas music; I didn’t know people liked that much Christmas music in the late spring.
The one area where it’s very different, obviously, is that you instigate your listening via a web page. I like how with Last.FM and formerly with Spinner I could listen from an app on my desktop. So Accuradio is more like Pandora. I don’t know why I like my listening and browsing separate — maybe it’s because I often encounter things that make my browser crash, so I’m often opening and closing browser windows.
Either way, Accuradio is a service I had heard about for years but never looked in to. If you work a desk job and have long uninterrupted stretches that should be filled with musics, the suite of Accuradio channels will give you plenty of listening pleasure.