Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Word About Pandora

Through some stroke of irony, I can be a bit slow to get on board with tech trends, so this might be old news. Recently I've started using Pandora, which is internet radio, in the realm of Last fm. etc.

The gist is that you sign up and create stations based on bands or songs that you pick. There's no guarantee that you will hear that band or song-- that's how they deal with licensing issues-- but you'll hear music that is similar in some way.

It's radio, in other words. Turn to the station that plays the music you like. Where this differs though, is that there are no obnoxious disc jockeys or advertisements to deal with, only a box ad awkwardly shoved in the margin.

Terrestrial radio is not what it used to be. Many once counted on it for exposure to new music. These days playlists are so shallow, radio doesn't completely fulfill that function as well as it used to, plus song ids are few and far between. Services like Pandora are just so freaking convenient, how can you compete? And it's free, unlike XM and/or Sirius which require monthly fees plus the initial investment to get the radio.

Don't like a song? You can skip three times in an hour. Want more info on what you're hearing? There's a tab for that. You can "thumbs up" a song, or "thumbs down" it and never hear it again. Not a bad deal.

And the catalogue? Seemingly endless. 50s/60s oldies formats have been fading out in the past few years in favor of classic rock of the late 60s and 70s, but the internet can provide a selection of music that doesn't have to exist merely because it's moderately to wildly popular. Even if the Greatest Generation isn't on Pandora or the like, their music is. (True story: I have a station seeded to The Four Freshmen.) In a respect, that's a point of comfort, that maybe older music won't disappear as the years continue to pile up.

There are many reasons to check out Pandora. Give it a try. A word of warning though, I've barely opened my iTunes in the past two weeks. Just sayin'.


a girl named heather said...


Matt Kraatz said...

Pandora is pretty great, though still unprofitable. Have you heard about their subscription service?

Jane Approximately said...

I hadn't seen that. It's like there's a wall between good ideas and profitability on the internet. Overblown sense of entitlement, anybody? I still say if something is good enough, you can get people to pay.

P.S. when are you rolling back into town, Kraatz?