I came across this music website the other day. Although I worked in radio for over ten years, I’m not a music junkie. I don’t have an iPod (my music is kept on my phone), I don’t have music playing everywhere I go, often times I’ll program in silence. I’m telling you this because I know there are a ton of music websites out there, most of which I haven’t tried
So I found myself at this website (www.pandora.com) and figured I’ve give it a try. It seemed like an easy thing to do… and I love that I didn’t need to register to try it out!
The first thing you come to is a screen asking you to input a song or a band name. I put in “Foo Fighters”. Immediately it began to play a Foo Fighters song, k … cool. Sound quality it good and stream is smooth. Do nothing and the song continues, gets to the end, then another artist/song starts playing. The software attempts to match your music taste to the original artist/song you chose. The thing is, it’s really good at choosing artists. I’ve seen music recommendations before that were less than stellar. On other systems, I would usually get one or two familiar artists then about 20 I’ve never heard of. After a few days of ranking artists/songs on these older systems, I’d end up hearing zero new music at all! So far, Pandora has an excellent mix of familiar artists/songs I like and new music that it’s introducing me to.
The UI shows a nice pic of the album art along with the song title, artist and album title. If you put your mouse over the album art you’ll get three choices: I don’t like it, menu and I like it – easy. Click the I don’t like it button and the song fades and goes to the next song. Click the I like it button and (I assume) it marks that artist for you so it can learn what you like. Simple — Brilliant.
The menu button is sweet too. In it are a variety of tools from “Why did you play this song,” to sharing tools, to a link to purchase the song on iTunes or Amazon.com. So far the interface is really slick and the sound quality good. I have yet to hear any buffering which is surprising!
There are some criticisms I have with Pandora though. For one, it would be nice to have a “remove artist” feature. There’s an option if you’re sick of a particular song not to play that song for a month (which is a great feature), but I’d like to see it expanded to an artist as well. Also, while clicking on a track will tell you more about that artist, song and album, it fails to give you the year the album or song came out. That’s a no brainer–c’mon! Another cool addition would be if each song faded into the next. Instead of playing to the end and then starting a new song. OK, I’m a radio guy–maybe that’s asking a bit too much
I presume the site is supported by the AD’s, which are large but do not get in the way of the functionality at all, and users buying music on iTunes or Amazon. I totally support that if they’re going to keep it free… and as I continue to use it, I will support them by buying some music.
Overall they’ve got a really good start at a kick ass piece of software. It could use a few tweaks here and there, but a clean product that I think anyone would get glued to after just a few minutes using it. Head on over to www.pandora.com and start your own station today!