The advent of mp3 files and gizmos like the ipod, should mean however that we need no longer be told what to listen to by blokes who look, and talk, like our Dads and have an unhealthy obsession with Shania Twain.
No - free yourselves. Here is Millsbomb's Christmas Present to you all: intelligent radio at Pandora.com.
What is it? Its a group of music and technology types who have spent the last 6 years like true geeks, analysing thousands of songs and artists:
Over the past 6 years, we've carefully listened to the songs of over 10,000 different artists - ranging from popular to obscure - and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time. This work continues each and every day as we endeavor to include all the great new stuff coming out of studios, clubs and garages around the world.
"To what end?", you may ask. Well for example I can create a radio station, and tell them I like U2 for instance. They will then build me a collection of tunes based on songs that I might like given my initial preference.
From well known to obscure artists, my personal radio station becomes a musical pick and mix that I can further refine, introducing me to new sounds in the process. They also have a series of podcasts explaining musical topics such as harmonies and drumming for example.
And like all the best things on the net its free, of course. (Hint: if you sign up you need to enter a US zip code for licensing reasons - just put in anything).