Pandora = Was the Best... Internet... Radio... Ever. Now, with it's Audio Ads? ... Not so much!
Apr 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. There are thousands of "internet radio" sites out there... but this one is unique in many ways. Pandora lets you create multiple stations based on the genre or style of music you'd like to listen to. For example, I have one dedicated to "oldies" and another dedicated to "alternative" music. I just select that one that I feel like listening to at any particular moment. The way it works is that after you select and create a station/setting (like "alternative" for example), you start adding the bands that you like. Based on what you add, Pandora will intelligently select other musical groups that you may like based on your preference. For example, if you like "New Order"... it may start playing "The Pet Shop Boys" or "Erasure" on that station for you. Each time it plays a song, you can rate it "thumbs up" or "thumbs down". If you rate "thumbs down", it will skip the song and play another one (so you don't have to suffer and endure a song you don't like). If you select "thumbs up", it will remember that you liked the song and will play it again in the future. Also, it will use that data to help find more bands that you may like based on your "thumbs up". So the more songs you rate, the better it can determine what other songs and bands you may like. I love it because it's a great way to learn about new bands and find new songs that may be "in tune" (pun intended :) with your musical preferences!
Also, because Pandora is getting so popular... there are many ways to access it. There's a Pandora Ipod iPhone/ Ipod Touch App and also one for the Blackberry (both are completely free!) Pandora started as a Internet Radio Website, so it's still available on PC or Mac via the Web. Your cellphone may be able to run Pandora, but you'll have to check and find out for sure. For details go directly to Pandora: http://www.pandora.com/
Pros: -Internet radio that caters and evolves to your unique taste in music -Songs sound great, pretty high quality streaming songs (comparable to 192 kbps) -Fast loading time and hardly any pause between songs (unless you have super slow bandwidth) -Available on multiple devices such as Ipod Touch, iPhone, and Blackberry, PC and Mac. -The ability to see what the previous songs that were played were... just in case you didn't get to see what song it was during the time it was playing. -Shows detailed info on Song, Artist, Album. -Skip songs you don't like. If you rate them "thumbs down" it shouldn't play the song again.
Cons: -You can't play any band or song at will (such is the nature of radio, though :) -Audio Ads!!! (in addition to visual ads) :(
Update: It is with a heavy heart that I say that I just heard my first audio ad while listening to Pandora. I believe that a huge part of what made Pandora so great was that it was free, and free of audio ads.
Now, things have changed. It's no longer "unique", and in my opinion... has gone against it's original core values. In short, it has lost it's "integrity"... and it is a very sad day indeed. I didn't mind seeing visual ads, but audio ads are just going too far. What separates it from regular radio now? And I'm sure the frequency of the audio ads will just escalate from now on. I revised my 5-star rating to 3-stars. By the way, there are other comparable Internet radio stations out there that run audio ads. One of them is www.slacker.com. Pandora was number #1 on my list because it was "audio ad free"... now it's just like the rest of them :(
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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.