I've been using Pandora for streaming music on-line for a while now. I enjoy it so much that I pay the roughly $5-$6 per month for a higher quality stream and because I want to do my part to make sure they stay viable as a business.

What's so great about it?

Pandora is unobtrusive, easy to use, and really good at finding similar and related music that I'm likely to enjoy. I'm always amazed at how good it is when I create a new station.

Just a few weeks back, I told Pandora to create a "U2" station. A few hours later, I realized that I'd been listening to an excellent selection of tunes.

I never get bored of the music on Pandora. It's just a part of my day, always playing good music to keep me happy while I'm coding or fixing things.

I feel like an idiot for the thousands of dollars I spent on CDs years ago, not to mention all the time and effort that went into digitizing that library multiple times (my own code, iTunes, WinAmp, etc.).

If I thought I could get any real money for my 550 CDs, I'd just sell 'em all and send the Pandora crew a nice check with a note: "Keep up the great work."

If you've not yet used Pandora, I highly recommend it. You'll be surprised by how often it plays music you like, even with the most minimal input from you.

Posted by jzawodn at August 24, 2009 06:43 AM

Reader Comments
# Bill Mill said:

Someday, when I can type "Fela Kuti" into Pandora, and get a great Afrobeat station, I'll like the service. Until then, it's CDs and MP3s for me.

on August 24, 2009 07:19 AM
# DenisB said:

Jeremy: unless your CD-collection is only mainstream stuff you could be surprised at it's ebay-value..

I have CD's that will fetch ~100EUR pr. piece (mint/near-mint).. Those are limited print CDs of course, but I guess a collection of 550CDs ought to have a few gems too?

And I agree with Bill, it will take a much wider selection on Spotify/Pandora/Last.fm/Wimp before I consider my digital collection obsolete :) But more mainstream tastes are easier to satisfy, and I am definitely not very mainstream with regards to music..

on August 24, 2009 07:29 AM
# jr said:

While I also pony up a subscription to Pandora, I kinda agree with Bill. If your tastes trend to less popular bands or you prefer a wider mix, Pandora can leave you wanting some times. I've got a personal mix station (http://jrconlin.com/pandora) that's a bit eclectic. While I like most of the tunes it selects, there are an awful lot of repeats, even in the same eight hours.

Whenever I get tired of pandora, I switch over to RadioIo.com. There are commercials, but they seem to dig a little deeper for tracks.

on August 24, 2009 07:31 AM
# mattshelton said:

I did the same thing with my DVD collection a year or so ago. Second Spin (http://www.secondspin.com/) ended up being a good place to sell most of it. Their repay rates for CDs weren't as good, and they have some seriously high standards for what constitutes a "scratch".

on August 24, 2009 08:07 AM
# Scott Schnaars said:

I've been absolutely hooked on the Pandora TMBG station of late.

It is excellent! Late 90's nerd rock at it's finest.

on August 24, 2009 08:35 AM
# Brent said:

I've never been really happy with Pandora, whenever I try to restrict the song choices to a particular genre I need to "spend" all of my skips on throwing out songs that aren't really in that genre, and then when I'm done apparently they're down to about 4 albums and they don't even use all the songs on them so I'll get repeats in the same hour. I've now gone back to my CD collection.

on August 24, 2009 11:02 AM
# john wrycza said:

XM radio's Deep Tracks used to be good
in fact XM used to be good...

my only advice to XM today is SHUT UP & play (only) music
they've turned what was a decent portal for entertainment
into bubble-gum pop DJ-like experience, which adds no value
to my listening, and no doubt lowers their ASCAP/RIAA fees
by playing LESS music - I've even witnessed them cutting songs short to babble their meaningless spew - and I pay for this? Miss the pre Sirius XM

on August 24, 2009 11:16 AM
# Randy Stewart said:

Based partially on your recommendation, I upped for the paid Pandora as well. The higher bit-rate sounds really fantastic on my studio monitors and that quality bump alone is worth the price. I don't think that the iPhone app gets the higher bit rate, but there is enough noise in my car that it's pretty hard to tell.

@John Wrycza - I'm with you. I just canceled XM after having it for 4 or so years. Sirius really messed it up. I imagine that enough folks with mobile broadband will kill Sirius/XM.

on August 24, 2009 12:49 PM
# BobFlorian said:

I as well just retired my Sirius subscription for Pandora. I use it on my Blackberry, work desktop, and Boxee @ home

I totally agree that they come up with excellent suggestions, but "less is more" with how much input you should give it on what you like. I find that seeding it with two or three favorite songs (not artists) per station works really well, and you get great diversity. When I first started making stations I was adding every artist, and every song i remotely liked and the station became unwieldy, playing crap i totally didn't like. Then I read their faq's on tips to make a good station, and have been happy ever since.

I hope their business model is sound (because i really like them), but almost doesn't seem sustainable in todays volatile music industry with the overhead they have to keep up.

on August 24, 2009 01:39 PM
# Tool said:

Rhapsody on iPhone FTW!

on August 24, 2009 03:57 PM
# Tom Conrad said:

Hey Jeremy,

Thanks for the kind words about Pandora. We met years ago but it's been a long time since we talked. Would love to reconnect and get caught up. Drop me an email (tomconrad-at-gmail)

CTO @ Pandora

on August 24, 2009 05:38 PM
# Mitch Wright said:

I dig Pandora as well, but there are a few reasons I don't move to it entirely. 1) Sometimes I really do want to listen to an entire album. 2) Playlists. At times, there is no substitute. 3) Even with Pandora on my iPhone, I don't always have a net connection. That's a time I often want to listen the most.

Regardless, I'll continue to support Pandora. It is an excellent choice when you aren't looking for something specific. To me, it is akin to a decent radio station without the commercials.

on August 24, 2009 05:45 PM
# Asgeir S. Nilsen said:

I used Pandora a lot, up until the point they were forced to introduce an apartheid system.

Why on earth, literally speaking, does the music industry care WHERE I am when I want to listen to music??

on August 25, 2009 02:06 AM
# Jon Morby said:

Dear Pandora Visitor,

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.


on August 25, 2009 03:28 PM
# Charles said:

I don't know how good Pandora might be for classical music. I typically want specific composers, performers, and even specific performances sometimes. For example, I just bought a discontinued set of CDs from EMI France of the complete Debussy solo piano works, which is not content I would expect that you could get from a site like this. I suspect I will be importing CDs into iTunes for a while yet.

BTW, Pandora requires enabling Flash local storage to work. I always have this feature turned off for security reasons.

on August 26, 2009 12:07 PM
# Matt said:

I sporadically listen to music so take this w/a grain of salt but I've found myself recently hooked on http://www.grooveshark.com. It is perfect for me b/c typically when I want to listen to music there is something specific (e.g. song, artist, etc) that I am looking for and so I can just type it in and play it; you don't even need an account. The one thing that I don't like is that you can't seek w/in the song but I rarely need that so it is not really a big deal.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing to do w/Grooveshark so I have nothing to gain by saying any of the above. I also have spent exactly 0 seconds on Pandora so if their service does this as well feel free to call me an idiot.

on August 27, 2009 10:02 AM
# Sarah Elkins said:

I can't listen to Pandora on my work desktop any more (anti-streaming policy), but I love listening to Pandora on my Palm Pre (smartphone)! I can web surf, do email, play games etc. while listening, and use the Pandora control bar at the bottom to pause/skip songs as needed, or go back into the regular app display if I want to switch stations.

on September 3, 2009 08:52 AM
# Chris W said:

You can get some okay cash for your old CDs from SecondSpin (secondspin.com). My wife and I sent about 100 CDs to them via USPS media mail postage (which is *cheap* - just a few dollars) and got a little more than $1 per disc. (Some discs fetched over $5, and others we chose to offload for 10 to 50 cents each.) It's not much when compared to the original purchase prices, but was much better than the wasteful and time-consuming alternatives. I'm sure Pandora would appreciate the donation!

on September 3, 2009 09:24 AM
# Michael Stubblefield said:

I really like pandora as well. (and Slacker is another good one). I really like having pandora on my iphone and almost don't need anything else. I heartily agree it's worth the $5 per month for supporting the service. However, it's still good to have music on my iphone for those times when we're not around a 3G signal or wifi.

on September 13, 2009 09:28 AM
# Seth Wisely said:

basic Pandora streams mp3.. does pandora have plans to offer Ogg Vorbis streams to paying customers? Or better yet Ogg FLAC streams?

I do enjoy relational streams from pandora.. but musicovery.com is an entertaining alternative sometimes: pick mood and genre and explore the music paths.

spotify.com that claims to be the next evolutionary step for itards. It's for those who cannot access pandora.

grooveshark.com is only tolerable with some added JS wizardry.

jamendo.com is great for OSS/OCD. It fails to keep the music playing while you explore site features.

I always come back to pandora... I NEVER pay for mp3s... it's wrong to encourage music rape

on September 19, 2009 04:04 PM
# David Robbins said:

You may want to experiment with GrooveShark - http://www.grooveshark.com . It is a free streaming service that has a huge collection of music and also allows you to embed a song in WordPress and other blog engines. I have a sample page at my blog http://activeengine.wordpress.com/pay-the-rent-with-rock/

I tend to do my discovery in Pandora, and when I find a tune / artist I like I create a play list in GrooveShark. Or, create a theme for blog post about .Net, C# CochDB ;)


on December 16, 2009 02:32 PM
# Music said:

Pandora radio is not available at my country...

on February 17, 2010 03:56 AM
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