MaxBarry.com
slippery when wet

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Mon 03
Jul
2006

Sing Along With Max

Writing I recently discovered Pandora, a web site that acts like a radio station, only you’re calling in all the time and saying whether you like or hate what they’re playing, and the sweaty, desperate-to-please DJs rush to change their playlist to keep you satisfied. I think you’ll agree that the world would be a better place if more of it operated on this kind of basis.

I’ve started using this while I’m writing: I fire up my web browser, point it at Pandora, and let the tunes roll. Not only is it very good at serving up my kind of music, but it also tells me what kind of music that is: apparently I am big on synth bass riffs, a highly synthetic sonority, repetitive song structure, a tight kick sound, and prevalent use of groove. I don’t even know that that means. But I like it.

Once you’ve trained up those sweaty virtual DJs, you can share their work with other people. And that’s why I mention it here: if you want to hear what I’m listening to while writing, tune in here:

[Max’s Writing Tunes]

(If you’re reading this via e-mail and see nothing to click, you probably need to go via my site: start with this link.)

Comments

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Saban (#15)

Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Quote: "Well, you may not get hurt, but huff puff, you won't get loved either."
Posted: 3064 days ago

Ah! I'd never heard of Pandora before. I dig it. :D
I wish all stations acted like this.

Machine Man subscriber Bushra (#36)

Location: Fremont, California
Quote: "www.caffeinatedmuslim.com"
Posted: 3064 days ago

I heard of Pandora a while ago. My manager told me about it 'cause a former coworker works at Pandora and told him about it. I was listening to it at work but haven't really used it much lately because I would spend more time fiddling with my stations than, um, working.

Drew (#2500)

Location: Houston TX
Quote: "What is time?"
Posted: 3064 days ago

Dude Pandora is the Shit I have been useing it for over a year. I tell everyone I know about it. I love it.

Max if you are reading this check out my station

http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh6704710237719030

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @: http://www.shabooty.com"
Posted: 3064 days ago

the first song that pops up:
U Got The Look
by
Dirty Sanchez

--
sounds like some gay prince techno song
:)

Mincetro (#584)

Quote: "This isn't skiing"
Posted: 3064 days ago

There's another similar service called Last.FM

Tim Ashwood (#595)

Location: Sydney
Posted: 3064 days ago

For a moment there I thought you meant that you were now running a web site with your latest writing on it, and we could vote our approval/disapproval of the prose in progress.
Dibs on copyright.

thewylddream (#1191)

Location: Montana USA
Quote: ""Always forgive your enemies -- Nothing annoys them so much." ~Oscar Wilde~"
Posted: 3064 days ago

Ha! Wow, thanks for sharing that info. Sounds fun!

Karen (#245)

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Quote: "It takes more muscles to frown than to smile, but I like my face to be fit."
Posted: 3064 days ago

What a brilliant idea. Thanks for sharing it, Max, I'll be using it extensively, I suspect :-)

Kalle (#1278)

Quote: "Sex is herital. If your parents never had it, chanses are you'll never have it either."
Posted: 3064 days ago

What can I say Max? You've got good taste. This is great music to work to!

Kalle (#1278)

Quote: "Sex is herital. If your parents never had it, chanses are you'll never have it either."
Posted: 3064 days ago

Nevermind that. A pussycat dollz song came up. Bye bye, Max radio.

Machine Man subscriber Roger (#1653)

Posted: 3064 days ago

I've heard of Pandora a long while back, but could never use it 'cause of my dial-up connection. I hate AOL!

Stasey Norstrom (#1885)

Location: Oregon, USA
Quote: ""Better him than me.""
Posted: 3064 days ago

Great. Now I have another reason to sit on my ass and not mow the lawn.

austin (#2462)

Location: rhode island
Quote: "hmmm...bleh..."
Posted: 3064 days ago

Pandora is sweet. I use it almost everytime I go online and it makes people angry for some reason. Nice songs there Max.

Erin (#1296)

Location: Chandler AZ
Posted: 3064 days ago

That station is awesome! It takes all the work out of me browsing around for new music by myself. And, I didn't think your station sucked. Thanks Max!

Machine Man subscriber Alan W (#1427)

Location: Spokane, Washington
Quote: "Corgis are like potato chips"
Posted: 3064 days ago

Wow, this is awesome...

The audio stream is much nicer quality than a lot of other inet radio I have hear. I just wonder how they are going to make money.

They want to you to buy a receiver for 250+ and then charge a yearly (albiet nominal) fee? Why would you want this instead of getting it on your computer for free?

We'll see, I know I'll be jammin to Max's playlist and making one of my own now!

Ada Rell (This Girl) (#2463)

Quote: "There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don't. Tee Hee."
Posted: 3064 days ago

All of my things have the major tonality and dynamic females with their combination of electric and acoustic instrumentation and organs. So basically everything sounds like Natalie Merchant and/or 10,000 Maniacs, which rocks.

I use a program called Rhapsody, a cheap thing that has a monthly fee and only costs extra if you burn a CD, to find new songs I like and then I add them into pandora. Rhapsody also has radio stations, with artists you can't get on pandora, so I use that sometimes. It also has all these charts that show you which tracks and albums are your favorites, and an instant playlist feaure based on your favorite songs. I use a combination of Rhapsody and Pandora for listening material.

Hobbie (#1359)

Location: Cornwall, England
Quote: "There was a little man in his hair!"
Posted: 3064 days ago

Some of those songs are highly suspect... you may know something about writing, but your taste in music leaves something to be desired Max.

Still, can't have everything.

Kevin R (#500)

Location: MD, USA
Quote: ""the" - Max Barry"
Posted: 3064 days ago

Pandora is cool and all, but I find much more use out of http://last.fm

Machine Man subscriber Max

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "I'm my number one fan!"
Posted: 3064 days ago

I gotta point out that this station plays music it thinks I'll like -- I haven't actually listened to and given the thumb's up to everything it might toss up. So I take no responsibility for individual dud songs.

I think this music works for me because it's groovy, but can sit in the background and not distract me while I work. People singing actual lyrics I tend to find too distracting. But give me repetitive, thumping bass, and I'm good.

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 3064 days ago

Not very nerdy, though. You should listen to hard rock or Marilyn Manson or something so people won't think you're a sissy.

Well, of course they'll still think you are, but that's just what nerds do: They listen to hard rock. You should try it some time.

Anyway, thanks a lot for pointing out Pandora to me, it rocks!

Machine Man subscriber Max

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "I'm my number one fan!"
Posted: 3063 days ago

But I *am* a sissy!

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 3063 days ago

Hey, how cool is that: You answered directly to my entry. Normally I don't get the opportunity to talk to celebrities.

Well, I ran into Michael Jackson once in Paris, when I was twelve years old. But I don't think he'd remember me.

Jesus, I hope he doesn't remember me... The thought of him thinking about me as a 12-year-old boy is way too creepy.

Wait! I think I just saw a thin, pale figure standing right outside my window! I'll be right back...

Kate (#2426)

Location: London
Quote: "If you're being chased by seventeen horses, an ostrich and a tiny fire engine with a madly-ringing bell - get off the merry-go-round."
Posted: 3063 days ago

THAT is the absolute DOG'S. (NB A good thing).

Thanks, Max!

broad (#1759)

Location: astoria, ny
Posted: 3063 days ago

There's a service which links last.fm to pandora. Basically get a last.fm account, and then log into last.fm through here:
http://pandorafm.real-ity.com/. All of the songs pandora suggests that you listen to at least half through will be recorded in last.fm. Yay!
~J

Hobbie (#1359)

Location: Cornwall, England
Quote: "There was a little man in his hair!"
Posted: 3063 days ago

Michael Jackson is stalking Yenzo, and Max Barry comes out as a sissy... more headlines after the advert break...

austin (#2462)

Location: rhode island
Quote: "hmmm...bleh..."
Posted: 3063 days ago

That first song, Religion (live), yeah, that's moderately creepy. Im afraid.

Machine Man subscriber SilverKnight (#2210)

Location: St. Louis
Posted: 3056 days ago

Yes I do want to leave a comment, Small Box. @-)

Pandora seems WAY more functional than Last.FM, which I tried first. I'm in!

SilverKnight

apt142 (#2526)

Location: North Carolina, USA
Quote: "And the geek shall inherit the Earth."
Posted: 3054 days ago

I've been doing pandora for a while. It's a great find. If interested, I have a nice blues and few metal stations to pass your way. When I do a bit of writing, I usually collect a set of songs that I think describes my characters and put them in a play list.

As far as your station goes, I just have to share with you my first impression:

"This would be perfect to code to."

Niq (#2576)

Location: Amersfoort, Netherlands
Quote: "I must be dreaming this"
Posted: 3034 days ago

I like it!

Thanks for the suggestion.

Tommy Conant (#443)

Location: Orlando FL
Quote: "I'd kill to win the Nobel Peace Prize!"
Posted: 3006 days ago

hehe, welcome to the Pandora fold... my music taste is so eclectic that i have about a dozen stations for whichever mood I am in. Jazz, Bluegrass, Classic Rock, Jimmy Buffet, New Wave... you name it I have it.

Enjoyed your station a lot and glad you are enjoying it as well.

Geno deGahn (#2686)

Posted: 2991 days ago

Hey I'll be darned if Max Barry's musical taste - strong groove, tight kick and bass, haunting synth, hypnotic repetition - doesn't describe my the new ditty I wrote, recorded and posted on my page at www.myspace.com/genosmile. Is this a good or a bad thing? All of my tunes aren't this way but I think there's something to be said for it. Isn't there?

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