Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Internet Radio: Pandora

As I’ve been sitting pondering what I might write about a number of topics came to mind. One of them though tickled my fancy and I decided to go with it.

A while back Itunes introduced a music program that would look at all your songs, learn what you like the most, and create a playlist from your library that could play. It was an interesting concept and I told it to go ahead and run a scan. It was a slow process. So slow in fact that the itunes stopped running and had to be closed through the task manager.

I gave up on the curiosity as I had better things to do. But then about two weeks ago a guild member began to talk about this new Internet radio website called Pandora!


Pandora is a music genome project created to be somewhat of an ultimate radio station. With countless songs and albums you can almost always find something you really enjoy.

How it starts:

When you start an account on Pandora you can create your first playlist. Doing this is as simple as picking an artist or song you enjoy listening to. Pandora will either play that song (if they’re allowed) or it will know what a similar song is and play it. Based on a thumbs up or down that you give that song, it will pick the next song.

Your entire playlist depends upon you rating the songs as they play. If you like it, thumbs up and more of that type will play. If you dislike it, the song is stopped immediately and songs similar to that will likely never be played again.

What if you wanted to add more artists or songs to the playlist?

Once that playlist is created, you’ll see a “Your Stations” listing. Under that is the current ‘station’ or playlist you have up and running. “add variety” will give you the chance to put in additional artists and song titles that you might like.

What if you really like the song you heard? What can you do?

If you liked it, you can bookmark the song. Also, you will have the option to buy it! But it is a redirection to Itunes. If you don’t find redirection is working, Pandora is excellent about listing albums, artists and song names and you can usually write down those names.

The nice thing about your playlist too is that you will generally here the songs you checked with a thumbs up, multiple times. I have one song called “Dark Waltz” that I heard on Pandora and I can frequently hear it play 2-3 times in a sitting. (I usually have Pandora playing in the background during raids)

Of course, Pandora doesn’t have every song. I’ve gone to input a few song titles in, only to find they’re not their. Most of the time however, if you can find it on itunes, you can find it here. But Pandora is definitely still a good internet radio site and its ability to interpret what you might like (once you go through the motions of thumbs up and thumbs downing) is incredible. I’ve found a number of songs and artists through them since I started listening to them.

Finally, one of the best things about this radio site?

It is free. You can upgrade for more listening hours. But for myself, I’ve tried listening to it more than 80 hours. If you wanted to upgrade though, you get rid of adds, get higher quality of audio (not that it doesn’t sound lovely free!), a desktop application and some extra skins. It all costs 36 bucks a year. Probably not too bad. And maybe if I start hitting the marker on time listened, I’ll invest. For now though, free is good for me!

I’ve recommended Pandora to a few friends. And I recommend it to anyone. Its very excellent and worth at least checking out if you are one of those folks sitting at your computer looking to listen to something you enjoy without having to dig through countless files or playlists on your computer.

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