If work is my cerebral connection to the world then music is my emotional connection.┬áMusic is always playing in the background while I’m working and since I pretty much work all the time, I hear a lot of music (it’s playing now).

Though my tastes vary wildly from staccato blues to ska punk, I’m a big fan of alternative rock. I hate Top 40 stations. I have no sympathy for the RIAA or the pitiful state of the American music industry. In my opinion, they are to blame for their own undoing when they decided to package musicians to feed only the lowest common denominator. When you view art (or any form of human expression) solely through the narrow lens of the bottom line, creativity and diversity are inevitably sacrificed.

Before discovering this month’s Cool Tool, I was hooked on XM Satellite Radio (I got to listen for free since my brother was a reseller). Digital sound, commercial-free, lots of variety, I would almost be willing to pay if not for the fear that I would be encouraging radio to go the way of cable television. When my brother stopped selling XM, I lost my radio. But as fate would have it, Pandora came of age. It was love at first sound.

Pandora is what Internet Radio should be. Hell, it is what radio should be!

The brainchild of┬áTim Westergren who had the idea of a musical taxonomy initiated on a single artist or song. He called it The Music Genome Project. A personalized radio station that “learns” from the listener’s feedback. It is hard to imagine most readers of this blog have not heard of Pandora by now but if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? It is free and available on just about every device out there (one of the most downloaded apps). While you’re on their site, check out answerYES Radio.