PandoraI have been planning on writing this post ever since I first got access to the beta of pandora (thanks guys). That was a little over a month ago now and the beta has now ended and the service live. It has been created by the Music Genome Project who (to quote from the website) "came up with the idea of creating the most comprehensive analysis of music ever".

So what is Pandora? Well it is in effect an internet radio station with a twist. You can create your own stations from a particular track that you like and then as you play tracks, you can rate what you think of the song. This constantly updates your preferences for that particular station. If you dont like a song you can skip to the next track. It actually reminds me of Spinner (bought by AOL in 1999) which had predefined stations you could choose and listen to. With Pandora of course, you can define the stations yourself.

It is a very easy to use – the interface is clean and friendly. There is one downside and as usual it comes from the music licensing side. Currently:

  • You can only skip a certain number of songs per hour (I do not remember the precise number, and the website does not tell me  it was not that low a number though I did come across the limit every now and again)
  • You cannot choose a specific song – this means Pandora is not going to be a replacement for your music collection – it was my single biggest gripe as it felt i could never quite communicate the exact style I wanted – though maybe this would not have been the case even if I could select the right track
  • You cannot go back/rewind

All in all, pandora is a great service for discovering new tracks – even with licensing restrictions – it is meant to be a service to introduce you to new tracks and I found new tracks I liked, so it does what it says on the box 😉 I just wish it was integrated into something like Napster’s To Go service – then I could have all the flexibility and find new music in one place 🙂 

Saying that – it is only $36 a year or $12 a quarter.. Napster To Go is $15 a month – or for us UK people £15 a month (thats a whopping $315 a year!).