atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6107: The annoying thing about Pandora

So, some months ago I added Peter Buffett to my seed. I liked one of his albums--bought it in like 1990--and thought it'd be awful nice to have those songs come up once in a while. Besides, I might like other music by the guy.

I should have known better. A couple years ago I added John Jarvis, and was deluged with piano music until I removed him from the seed. Argh etc.

But this time, the results are simultaneously less and more frustrating. Less, because it hasn't resulted in a sudden wad of music completely outside of what I want to hear from this channel, but more because of what is being suggested.

Buffett himself came out with several albums after whatever-it-was. (The Waiting, it was, and it was his first.) Guess he had to occupy himself with something since his dad, Warren Buffett (that one) wasn't going to let him inherit anything. (But how nauseating.)

Anyway, so here's what happens: Pandora pops up a song from TW and that was kinda okay--it wasn't one of the best ones. Later it pops up another song from a subsequent album and that was kinda okay too. And then--

I had no idea this turkey did vocal albums. Even if this channel didn't have a pretty strict no vocals rule, there's a general rule in that genre of music that if your career started with doing instrumentals do not sing because there is a reason your first albums were successful. All these new-agey instrumentalist guys have approximately the same voice, a reedy tofu-and-sprout-eating motherfucker kind of tenor which sounds like all the bad protest songs you ever heard. Peter Buffett is no better.

And I know this because Pandora keeps putting up new songs from every other album of his. Naturally it's served two or three from the album I added to the seed, but I've rejected every song from his most recent Running Blind and I think I've just about done the same for Spirit Dance.

That is what annoys me: I add an album to the seed, and I get next to nothing from it. I give a thumbs down to half the tracks on another, and they keep coming, and only stop when all the tracks have been rejected.

Pandora has a neat gimmick, in that the software allegedly tunes itself to your preferences--but it needs more work. A lot more work.

* * *

Well, we won't have Barnes and Noble to kick around much longer, it looks like.

The problem is not Amazon, or not entirely. Amazon just accelerated things, providing a massive one-stop shop for just about everything you could want. "Hey, I need a copy of War and Peace, and I suppose I might as well order that blender I've been thinking about, and I sure could use a set of new snow tires...."

For me, the nearest bookstore (a Barnes and Noble) is a good 40-minute drive from home. There is no bookstore closer than that, at least not one which is ever open when I have time to visit it. (There's a used bookstore over in Indiana, a place I've wanted to visit, but every time I go there, it's closed. They keep banker's hours.) There's a Half-Price Books somewhere over in Merrilville, but again that's a long-ass drive from here, time-wise.

So I don't go to the bookstore as often as I'd like; and when I do go, there's little to nothing there that I want to buy. "Oh, great! Here's volume three of a series I might want to read, nothing like starting in the middle! Well, what's the SF section like? Oh, they have every book John Scalzi ever wrote, but what happened to Larry Niven--oh, here he is. Dang, I already have all four of these." It's like that at B&N; the selection at Half-Price is even worse.

The problem is that bookstores are stores, and given the panoply of books out there they cannot serve every taste equally well. But they further suffer from the decline in recreational reading; people don't read as much because there are so many other options. Why read a book when you have a smartphone, on which you can watch a video or play a game? Or, if you really do want to read, you can read it there?

And you don't need a brick-and-mortar store to sell digital copies of books. Or smartphone apps.

I don't like the idea of B&N going under any more than I liked it when the other big book chains went away. I liked Borders a lot. But it's pretty much a fact of life at this point.

* * *

Ah, a calm Sunday. Looks like the Jeep's exhaust isn't getting fixed today, though: we slept until 4. We're not tired or anything from working all week! Why would you think that?

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