Using Yahoo!'s LaunchCast requires using the "as little as possible" clause in two of my web browsing rules, namely:
§ 101, Paragraph 3, line 2:
Use Firefox whenever possible, use Internet Explorer as little as possible. Others such as Opera are permissible.
§ 56, Paragraph 5, line 7:
Use Google whenever possible. Use Yahoo! as little as possible, run from MSN like the plague. Others are NOT acceptable. An honorary exception is made for Excite, due to its part in the forementioned blogger's early internet experience before Google came along.
The site's awesome capabilities and range of music, however, redeem it and allow my use of it. In fact, largely due to § 101, my IE homepage is set to LaunchCast, since that's about the only thing I use IE for. The problem is that Yahoo! Launchcast is not compatible with Firefox (another example of the reasoning behind § 56).
But on to LaunchCast. It's great, because I can set what music I want. I can set it broadly by Genre, narrowly by Artist or album, or even specific songs. And I can use it anywhere I have web access - it doesn't require special software. I go to www.launchcast.com and sign in. I have my preferences set for two genres, Christian and Oldies, and a few other songs/artists (say, Las Ketchup). It's great when I'm working, I turn it on, and when the song is winding down, I rate it. If I really don't like it, I can send it to the land of never-playeds and skip to another song.
If I hear a song I really like, I'll rate it high. Not only because I want to hear it again, because this is where the true beauty of the system comes in. Since I rated that song high, it'll play other songs from that artist. If I like what I hear, I rate the artist. It will also play songs that are reccomended by fans of an artist I rated highly, as long as it's within my genre settings. So I've rated Switchfoot high already. As a result, it played a song by a band called PivitPlex one day. I liked t, so I rated it. I heard another PivitPlex song, and I liked it, so I rated the song and the artist. Since then, I have heard many other PivitPlex works and have added a new band to my "likes."
This is why I love Launchcast. It expands beyond my CD collection, but not outside my prefrences. All for free. How great is that?