Alumni Internet Radio Stations
A successful “Find Your Lost High School Friends” Search
RadioVillaStJean is a low-band station broadcasting since 1995 to a global audience in over 150 countries across all connection types including dial-up modem.
Recently a successful “Find Your Lost High School” search for “Villa St. Jean International School” students turned up our alumni. With fellow classmates Cliff Thompson was in a Villa Rock Band named “The Sufferin’ Kind”. Alumni & band formed a “Music Circle” where members shared music recommendations which often made the band’s repertoire. Cliff built a historical website for the band & resumed the Music Circle. As personal Internet Radio Stations began to appear, they offered a perfect way to share our music, so Cliff created RadioVillaStJean, which features a playlist comprised of the catalog of Music Circle recommendations.
A new RadioVilla music exploration, discovery & playlist generation station, created for the occasion of the Villa blog’s launch on WordPress, is hosted on Pandora as RadioVillaStJeanPandora, a high-band HQ (Highest Quality) streaming music station that can be played on the computer, iPad (use), and supported smartphone (use), in-home entertainment equipment (list) & car stereo or navigation unit systems. Due to current lack of foreign DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) equivalents, the station is currently available in the USA only. The station utilizes Pandora’s “music genetics DNA” algorithm “Music Genome Project” technology to generate virtually endless “fractal-like” playlists of “genetically-similar” songs related to the basic tunes from the Villa St. Jean Music Circle & original RadioVillaStJean playlist, potentially leading to new musical discoveries. RadioVillaPandora is listened to by sharing with users having existing Pandora accounts, typically free or subscription; compared to the audio quality of the original (Live365) RadioVilla, from the Pandora website free accounts broadcast at 2X (64 Kbps), subscription accounts at 6X (192Kbps).
“Music Genetics” Technology
Pandora utilizes from biology a genetics paradigm to model song architecture as a basis for new music exploration & discovery. As noted on the website, “Pandora is based on the Music Genome Project, the most sophisticated taxonomy of musical information ever collected…[As directed by Nolan Gasser] Each song in the Music Genome Project is analyzed using up to 400 distinct musical characteristics by a trained music analyst. These attributes capture not only the musical identity of a song, but also the many significant qualities that are relevant to understanding the musical preferences of listeners…We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or ‘genes’ into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song – everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics…singing and vocal harmony”. The Pandora FAQ adds, “the way that the Pandora stations generate their playlists [is that]…The Music Genome picks ‘sets’ of four songs at a time to play on a station based on similarities in their musical ‘DNA’. The starting point for each set will be one of the songs or artists which are part of the station’s definition. The selected songs will share some characteristics with this starting point, but will be even more closely linked to each other…[Wikipedia adds “Given the vector of one or more songs, a list of other similar songs is constructed using a distance function“]…Each song or artist that defines a Pandora station is called a ‘seed’, including the original. Each ‘seed’ is equally likely to generate the music that plays on that station, regardless of the order in which you added those seeds”. For RadioVillaPandora the seeds are the original collection of Villa St. Jean Music Circle alumni-selected songs (or where not found, their artist/group), which also makeup the original (Live365) RadioVilla playlist, but on Pandora each of these is its own station for generating musically similar DNA playlists from each Music Circle song, the set of stations collected together making up a kind of RadioVillaPandora “hyperstation” or station of stations. Applying the Music Genome technology results in generating virtually endless “fractal-like” playlists of “genetically-similar” songs related to the basic tunes from the Villa St. Jean Music Circle & original RadioVillaStJean playlist, potentially leading to new musical discoveries. Details of the Music Genome Project are covered in its page About & Wikipedia.
RadioVillaPandora is listened to by sharing with users having existing Pandora accounts, typically free (ad-supported, 40 hrs./mo., (afterwards stops/restarts 1st of next mo.)) & subscription ($36/yr., ad-free, unlimited hrs./mo., named “Pandora One”). Compared to the audio quality of the original (Live365) RadioVilla, on free accounts RadioVilla broadcasts at 2X quality as 64 Kbps audio streams, while on subscription accounts RadioVilla broadcasts at 6X quality as 192Kbps audio streams (using MP3/AAC+ codecs, offering nearly CD quality), the highest streaming music quality available in the US, on the Pandora Web (& an available Pandora One Desktop Application), & at 2X on all other platforms. For bandwidth requirements Pandora Help FAQ notes, “type of Internet connection…[for free accounts] a broadband connection with consistent bandwidth of at least 150 Kbps, e.g. DSL or Cable Internet…Dial-up and ISDN connections are not supported. Satellite Internet connections may be problematic, especially if you have a dial-up ‘upstream’ connection…[for subscription accounts, for] High Quality [192Kbps] audio streams…at least 300 Kbps…Note that you have the option to select Normal Quality [64 Kbps] audio on any computers you use in locations where limited bandwidth is an issue…The minimum bandwidths listed above are recommended for typical usage of Pandora, such as checking email or surfing the web while listening to Pandora. On the other hand, if you intend to listen to Pandora during other types of heavy internet use– e.g. downloading large files, streaming video, and so on– then you will need additional bandwidth to ensure best results”.