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Pandora Online Radio

An automated music recommendation and Internet radio service created by the Music Genome Project.

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Pandora Radio -- the paid version

  • Oct 5, 2010
All reviews, so far, for Pandora Radio have been positive and all have covered the free version. I used the service for a week before deciding to upgrade to the paid version. Was it money well spent? Mostly yes.

How it works: Pandora uses a fairly simplistic standard AI (artificial intelligence) engine. Create a seedbed of artists and songs and Pandora will augment that list with songs that fit your genres or songs that others with similar lists also like. Free version or paid version, you can create as many radio stations as you have the patience to build. To hone the station to become truly personal you have the option to give a song a thumbs up or down. It also has a feature that will explain why it recommends a song, in case you’re curious.

The other reviews cover three complaints (two of which also exist for the paid version).
  • First, even in the paid version, you are limited to the number of times you can use the thumbs down or the skip feature (6 times per hour per station for the paid version). This isn’t a fatal problem but is annoying. For instance, I usually cannot stand live versions of songs, even of songs I love. And I have run into the problem of using all 6 thumbs down in 10 minutes because I kept getting live songs. Unless the policy changes, this annoyance will remain.
  • Second, Pandora pays for each time each song is played. This leads to the, probably correct, idea that the song base is limited enough to hear repeat more often than seems reasonable. This problem is likely being resolved constantly but this resolution likely leads to the...
  • third problem: advertisements. Pandora pays royalties, so more listeners of the free version, the more it costs and without enough paid subscribers, ads will have to be part of the equation.
For just the week I used the free service, Pandora played music by a dozen singers and bands I’d never heard of and who are now among my favorites. That was the main reason I decided it was worth $36 for a year’s subscription. I paid that in August and still discover someone new every few days, not always for the best, but that is a constant reminder that Pandora’s inventory is not static.

Also, at first I thought the simplistic thumbs up or down rating system a serious failing. Then I considered that it took yahoo radio about three months to introduce me to a dozen artists I’d not heard previously. At first blush, this would indicate that yahoo’s song and artist inventory is tiny—simply not true. The issue is that yahoo’s AI is so fine tuned that it takes a relatively short amount of time to create a radio station so personalized that it almost never adds anything new. Being a picky person, it took me a while to realize that Pandora’s binary like/dislike method is more beneficial than not.

Unless the quality of the application declines or it becomes obvious that the song library is not increasing at a reasonable pace, I will pay again next year without a second thought.

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August 18, 2011
How does one get their music on Pandora?
August 19, 2011
Pandora is internet radio only not storage for music you own unfortunately. You can buy music from the site (as you can with most other internet radio) however.
July 11, 2011
Sounds interesting.
January 31, 2011
One of the other benefits of the paid version is access to a higher quality audio stream. Have you noticed an improvement with the audio quality in the paid version?
October 19, 2010
Great review! I'm a huge Pandora fan as well! What are your favorite Pandora stations? I'm thinking that I might have to make a list of mine now...
October 11, 2010
I love Pandora! I've used both the free version and Pandora One before. I hear ya on the only being able to skip 6 times per hour even with a paid account.  Fortunately, I don't hit the limit too often.  Great review, Paul!
More Pandora Radio reviews
review by . February 11, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Music Safari
I first heard about Pandora two years ago in my English composition class that I was teaching. A music fanatic wanted to write the majority of his essays on music topics. When I assigned a persuasive research paper, he was at a lost for a topic. During a brainstorming session in my office, he decided that he would tackle the case of online radio streaming programs versus traditional radio stations found on stereos and inside cars. Next thing I knew, he was talking on and on about this new radio …
review by . March 25, 2011
Pandora radio, an online streaming radio station; takes what you say you like, and expands upon it.    Fear not, you can always say, "I don't like this song" and you won't hear it again.  Really love Joan Jett's, "Little Drummer Boy" but don't want to hear it in June?  "I'm tired of this song" puts it away on a hidden shelf somewhere to be dragged out in a couple of months.    What I like most about Pandora is I don't have to take up space …
review by . February 03, 2009
Pandora Screenshot
UPDATE: 1/25/11      Since writing this review, I've upgraded my membership at Pandora to the paid subscription. And so, I'm  going to put in some thoughts on how that's been after using it now for about a month. If you're looking for thoughts on Pandora a free service, read towards the bottom, where you'll find my original review.       Pandora One is $36/year and offers some perks as a paid members. To sum it all up: no ads, …
Quick Tip by . May 26, 2011
posted in Music Matters
I'm in love...again. All I need is a WiFi connection and my Android tablet and there it is - from music I've loved for years to gems I've never heard. The Pandora mobile app ties in with my online Pandora account, takes my choices and tailors "radio" stations to suit my every mood. It's easy to use and almost always spot on.  With the mobile app, I'm loving it all over again.
Quick Tip by . December 03, 2010
Listen to any style of music for free on Pandora Internet radio - let Pandora select artists that suit your tastes
Quick Tip by . July 14, 2010
posted in Music Matters
I don't love Pandora, but I like it. I just don't like how it limits skipping songs or it stops playing if you let it be. Regardless though it is great for discovering new artists that might have something you'll love! Because of the cons I haven't been a very loyal user though...
review by . December 01, 2009
Pandora.com has done great things for my discovery of artists and bands in a specific genre that I choose. I have come across music that I have never heard before, or haven't heard enough of to form an opinion on. Since starting my Pandora account, I have some new favorite bands and musicians.       As a music journalist, this helps me a great deal. I can discover new music, and then research the artist more heavily. Tour managers could benefit from this site too, through finding …
Quick Tip by . March 17, 2010
Pandora works a lot better than Last.fm for me. I discovered several bands via Pandora and bought a bunch of albums
review by . April 25, 2009
I live and breathe music... my friends sometimes call me the "Duke-box" because any phrase can trigger a song in my head, and I have a weird ability to remember lyrics really well.  I currently own four different Mp3 players... yeah, I'm crazy.  Anyways, I've known about Pandora for a long time and I'm happy that it's finally getting mainstream.  Here's what makes Pandora the best Internet Radio... ever!      Pandora is a streaming internet radio station.  …
review by . April 15, 2009
Oh, how I love Pandora, let me count the ways.     First, you can create your own radio station. At first, I had toyed around with their "genre stations". Their R&B station is not my type of R&B, a little too much JoJo and Beyonce for my taste. So, I decided to type in "Jill Scott", you just can't go wrong with her. They matched her style of neo-soul with some R&B artists that match that style and voila- I LOVE IT! I listen to it as I wind down the day at work or …
About the reviewer
Paul Savage ()
Ranked #56
I name and describe everything and classify most things. If 'it' already had a name, the one I just gave it is better.
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Pandora is an automatic music recommendation and Internet radio service created by the Music Genome Project. People enter a song or artist and the service plays a list of songs that are similar. Pandora refines the personalized radio station with the person's thumbs-up/thumbs-down feedback on each song. Over 400 different musical attributes are considered when selecting the next song.

People can buy songs they hear from Amazon MP3, Amazon.com, or the iTunes Store.

The Pandora media player plays through a web browser and on portable devices such as iPhone. The service is supported through advertising and subscriptions.

Pandora radio is the personalized internet radio service that helps you find new music based on your old and current favorites. Create custom web radio stations, listen free.
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