Patrolling the Longhorn precinct for the latest Windows Vista beta news, commentary, and technical info...
Friday, November 11, 2005
Pandora 2.0 - Even better, but more work needed
Several weeks ago, I posted about a new service called Pandora that helps you find new music that matches your own musical tastes. Since then, the service has moved from beta to paid service to a new pricing structure that includes both an ad-supported free service and a premium subscription service. I promised that I would follow up with more feedback after using it for a while, and I think the present is as good a time as any, since the service is now available for anyone to try.

My initial dislikes about the Pandora beta back in August were the following:

  • Not enough variety of music in the database
  • No way to save lists of music to purchase later
  • No integration with a subscription download service (such as Rhapsody)

The pros were quite obvious after using the service for just a couple of minutes:

  • Very accurate music recommendations!
  • Sleek interface
  • Allows sharing of custom radio stations with friends

Well, I am happy to report that the newly improved, free Pandora 2.0 still maintains the same benefits and solved two of the three problems listed above. Yes, you can now save lists of songs Pandora has found that you want to lookup again later, and the music selection is much improved (well, at least I can speak for the New Age and Jazz genres).

The remaining drawback is that I still cannot easily use Pandora to find music to download with my Rhapsody subscription. Sure, direct Amazon.com links are nice, but I don't really want to pay $15 per CD when I can pay less for subscription access to a million songs instead. At least I can create a list of songs I like, and then manually pull them up for download in Rhapsody later. Which I suppose is good enough for a free service (we'll see how obnoxious the advertisements become). But the #1 feature Pandora would need to add before I would become a paying subscriber is direct Rhapsody links. I hope that will become a reality sometime soon.

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