pandoraThat’s right — time to lose the boom box! This powerfull online music player and discovery system is a staple of my workday. If you are into exploring new artists or even unknown tunes from your favorite bands without paying for stuff you aren’t sure you’ll even like, Pandora may be for you too. I’m going to spill the one caveat right up front: The music is NOT downloadable. Meaning – you can’t put the songs on your iPod or player. BUT if you are looking to listen to artists and styles that you choose and discover tons of new music at no charge read on…

I love listening to non-popular music, but I long ago faced the sad truth that I am just plain not cool enough to know new up and coming artists. I’m such a sucker for cover art, which unfortunately rarely has any bearing on the quality of the tunes within. That’s where Pandora saves my life.

I do know enough to know a few amazing artists and songs. And that is really all you need with Pandora. No installation required. Just sign up for a free account (they don’t even bug you with emails!) and you are on your way. Here’s basically how it works…You set up as many “channels” as you like. Each channel is created by entering either an artist or a song title (or a combination) and that channel will then play music it deems genetically similar in as determined by their sophisticated Music Genome Project.

After that you can play one channel at a time or a combo using the QuickMix feature. If you really dig a song, click on the thumbs up. If you can’t stand it, thumbs down and it will never curse your ears again. There are even some other rating options like “I’m tired of this song — don’t play it for a month” or ” I really like this song — play more like it!” They will even let you in on some of the secrets, allowing you to explore the elements of each song that resulted in it landing in it’s particular channel.

There are also some limited social networking features, but I haven’t really found much use for that. If you do, shoot me anemailThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it and I’ll gladly share some channels with you!

Check it:

And don’t forget the app: iPhone, Android, Blackberry