So I haven’t had time to play with tuneDNA. What I have had time to play with is Pandora Internet Radio, since I can use it online independent of my Mac or iTunes. So far so good. I like it much better than Last.fm though I can’t say if it really is better since Last.fm was such a sort trial.
Selection: Pandora reports having over 20,000 artists and 400,000 songs. I’ve found just about all the indie and indie-ish music I’ve looked for, so I’ve been happy with that. Blues also seems to be pretty well stocked. I’ve yet to try other genres but I did read that they have no classical music just yet, so there’s that. My guess is that they aren’t hurting for major artist either since they have licenses with SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Having worked a lot with college radio years ago I’d say this has to be pretty expensive for them.
Interface & interaction: The interface is pretty simple and intuitive. It shows cd cover images, the title of the artist, song, and album. You can skip tracks it suggests (though there is a limit due to license restrictions) and pause songs. You can’t go back, again because of license restrictions. You can create multiple stations rename them and add artists and songs to those stations. You can also bookmark artists or songs. You can do more too but I’m getting bored just writing this much— if you want know more you should go see the site for yourself. While there are nice things I should also add that the interface is also boxy, with a brushed metal theme… or put another way, it is ugly.
The music suggestions are pretty okay. Nothing blew my mind though I did find some interesting things. More often than not I was at least okay with what was playing, though there was the occasion that I raced to the “skip track” button.
A warning: right now there are no ads, but there will be soon. As it stands I would recommend trying Pandora Online Radio, but that recommendation may be revoked if the ads are done poorly. From their website:
Q: What about advertising?
The free version of Pandora is supported with advertising, which we’ll ramp up over the next few months. If you don’t like ads, you can banish them altogether by subscribing.
The biggest disappointment is the lack of community focus on the site. It seems like a no brainer to try to emphasize community, not only is it nice for the users, but it also builds brand loyalty while adding a service that requires little work (the users are responsible for most for the vast majority of the content).
I’m also aware that there is an exchange going on here, they capture my information (age, area code, gender, and music tastes) which they treat as a commodity. For that I get to listen to music for free online that might be slightly more tailored to my tastes than other free form online stations.
I am also aware of the fact that if I used only Pandora I’d lose the opportunity to be exposed to different music that I might not even be aware of and which Pandora would have no reason to ever play for me. Independent radio still has it’s place, though if there was a community aspect to Pandora this might negate the issue, even if only slightly.
That’s all I have to say about Pandora at the moment.
[tags]music, online music, online radio, pandora, pandora online radio, radio, website review[/tags]