I tried two internet radio station thingies. The first, recommended by Badger, and a second, recommended by Chatty B. Tawkin.
These are the kind of stations where you type in the name of a group you like, and using artificial intelligence software, they match your preference with other people's preferences, and start playing things that are sorta kinda like the stuff you like.
They were both abysmal failures. I tried typing in XTC, since I like their extraordinary lyrics, interesting harmonies and arrangements, and super clean studio sonorities. When that yielded not a single group I liked as much as XTC, I tried Todd Rundgren. But Todd is such a stylistic mishmash that the stuff coming down the pipe sounded random, and not in a good way. So then I tried NRBQ, my favorite group that you've probably never heard of. Their music is sort of laid back in a bar-band way, tuneful, catchy ... but still no dice. I pretty much hated all of their recommendations.
So then I tried telling the stations that I liked Frank Sinatra. But that meant that they thought I'd like Dean Martin, and I don't. Then I tried Rudy Vallee, figuring that I pretty much like all music from the 1920s and 1930s, at least a little bit. But that ended up being annoying, too.
I think the problem is that I mostly don't like 90 percent of the available music in the world. And the stuff I like eludes classification.
So I headed over to Live365. This appears to be internet radio for picky bastids. It doesn't use AI. Instead, you search for stations run by geeks who like the kind of music you like. You can type in "Purcell" or "Duke Ellington" or "Hootie and the Blowfish" (if you must) and up will pop a list of stations that play those artists.
I ended up buying an annual subscription.
Right now my playlist contains the following stations:
Canuckteach Hot Jazz, currently playing Mildred Bailey singing "I thought About You" with the Benny Goodman Orchestraand for listening when I'm playing board games with my children:
Early Music.net, currently playing See where she sits (William Turner) by The Consort of Musicke, dir. Anthony Rooley
Radio Dismuke, which is currently playing "Hi-Diddle-Diddle" by George Olsen and His Music
StarlightTeahouseAudio, currently playing "I Only Have Eyes for You" by Eddie Duchin
PIRN (Pokemon Internet Radio Network) which is currently playing "Splendid Collection (Karaoke)" by Sachiko KobayashiSo if you're a picky bastid like me, you might want to check it out. There's one drawback, though. Unlike regular radio, you know exactly what song is playing as it plays. There's a way of clicking through so you can either download the song or purchase the CD from Amazon. And I've already purchased a Bob Crosby CD and a collection of pieces by Spanish composers of early music. And I'm afraid this is only the beginning.