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Pandora

At its inception, Pandora's music genome project was part art project, part science experiment, part educational tool, part entertainment, and partly a work of philanthropy. And for a long time, it was essentially a money-losing operation. (It apparently didn't start making a profit until 2009, roughly eight years after its genesis.) But founder Tim Westergren and staff kept soldiering on through the hard times, and more importantly, they kept innovating. Now, in addition to offering personalized radio stations for virtually every music artist under the sun, Pandora has also expanded into comedy. This new "genome" is structured the same way as its music counterpart, offering individualized artist stations, in addition to genre playlists (in this case, "raw comedy," "working class," "icons," "golden oldies," et cetera, et cetera). Pandora is still working out the algorithmic glitches, but so far, the move has paid dividends.

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