Music Streaming part 2: Pandora

After a brief flirtation with Spotify, I decided to pony up for the paid version of Pandora, cleverly called "Pandora One".

As with so many other people, I have a love/hate relationship with Pandora.  I'll have these stations that are great and I love, and then all of a sudden they go off into left field and start playing Brittney Spears on a Janis Joplin station.  I'm not really exaggerating.  I've found it's best not to listen to any one station for too long, that keeps them the most consistent and 'centered' around what I'm really looking for.

I've also found Pandora to be best for main stream American and European music.  The Ladysmith Black Mambazo station I tried to create was a bit weak, as was the Sowetto Gospel Choir station.  Both groups are from South Africa.  The Pitbull station is a little stronger, but even that has a surprising amount of English language hip hop which I consider a related but different genre.

A minor issue with the web interface for Pandora is it's much harder than it should be to find the genre stations.  There's a search bar to type in an artist or song and create a station, but finding the genre stations requires clicking around in that search bar without typing in any text.   I always forget how to do it.

Pluses for Pandora are it's website and mobile apps.  I hated that Spotify made me download an app to play music on my computer.  I like that Pandora lets me play music from my web browser.  Since I listen sometimes at work this is very relevant.  I prefer not to put too many 'fun' programs on the office computer if I can avoid it.  I also hated that Spotify only worked on mobile devices if there was a paid membership.  Pandora works on iPod touch, iPhone, Android, etc in both free and premium versions.

One last word about Pandora is that it automatically signs premium members up for automatic renewal meaning it will bill your credit card annually.  It's harder than it should be to figure out how to get that turned off.  I spent a while in the FAQ before I could figure it out.

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