Published on September 25th, 2012 | by Will Passmore0
No need to pirate music ever again as we have Pandora for the iPhone
Summary: A review of Pandora, a popular music service available on the internet and as an iPhone app.
What is Pandora?
You may be wondering why Pandora is the talk of the music industry. Pandora is wonderful because not only does it deliver free music to anyone (as long as there are no laws in a internet user’s home country), it does it in a legal manner. Pandora is not a piece of software like Limewire which could also be considered a tool for free music.
Pandora shares music with us, of popular and unknown artists, while giving the artists their hard earned money at the same time! This method of music playing is unique and an innovation that everyone can appreciate.
We’ll get into cons later, but one thing that Pandora users love is the random insertion of songs. If you are listening to Nickelback and there is a similar artist, you’ll be introduced to them automatically. If you search your favorite song (for example, Forever Young by Alphaville) you may not hear it first. At times you will hear other songs first, but eventually after listening to very similar songs you’ll hear whatever your search query regarded. It can be annoying if you’re a DJ, but wonderful if you don’t know what you want to listen to!
Ease of use
3/5 ~ Their requirement of having an account for the iPhone app is detrimental to their continued growth. It may not affect that significantly now, but as other music services grow (such as Spotify) every little detail will matter.
First off, Pandora is not just an iPhone app. You can use Pandora on a computer simply by going to their website. Since Pandora offers so many options, unlike other music networks, you really can rely on access to your favorited radio stations. However, if you want to load up Pandora quick and easily without typing a single character, you definitely should download the app!
With the app all you have to do is click it. Pandora will then open up and load for a little bit of time. Mostly this is based on your current internet speeds. However, with almost no bars for my 3G network, the app loads quickly and music comes to my ears in a fraction of a second (or so it seems!).
Something you should note though is that for favoriting radio stations of your favorite genres, artists, etc you will need an account! In fact if you are using the app you will need an account to even start listening. If you would like to listen to music efficiently and quickly then I highly recommend this. Having an account allows you to access your history of music listening whether you used Pandora on your phone or computer.
More details about the ‘random’ music generator
It is quite normal if you are confused by the above mentioned ‘random’ aspect of Pandora. As I briefly put above, this generator picks songs, artists, and genres that an automated system believes you will enjoy because of your recent listening history. If I have a trend of listening to country, as well as Eminem, but no electronic music, then the system develops a prediction of what else I will like. With a history of Eminem and country, I am more likely to hear other rappers and singers in the country genre; even if I have never searched for them specifically! And because I have never shown an interest in electronic music, it is rare for me to encounter it on Pandora.
The random music generator is perfect, and here’s why. Sometimes when I am traveling I end up listening to the same playlists, over and over. Obviously, I soon get sick and tired of the same lyrics, tunes, and even entire genres! Pandora is an easy to set up replacement for this common frustration in the music industry, and the methods it utilizes to randomize my listening experience is a great fix. If you have ever felt like I have, whether it be on a road trip, your journey to school or work, or anywhere else: Pandora is your answer.
The bad things about Pandora
With all great things that we love, adore, enjoy and obsess over, there is always a list of cons. Fortunately for us, and Pandora’s board of investors (ha, ha) there are not many things to dislike.
However, here are four cons that most Pandora users notice rather quickly:
- Commercials; in the form of videos, pictures, and interruptions between songs.
- At times some slow loading times (rare, but not inexistent. May be just because my internet connection.
- You need an account if you use it on your iPhone
- The “are you there” check up
That is a pretty small list of cons for a service that millions of people use daily. However, they are pretty big ones. A lot of people would prefer to download music (legally or not) instead of hearing random commercials. The picture commercials are fine as most of us listen to Pandora and don’t stare at the Pandora station page. However, sound and video commercials interrupt us getting into a groove. Unfortunately, I rarely feel comfortable using Pandora for working out or running because of this aspect. Along with that, the rare, slow loading times can affect my music listening experience in a terrible manner! If I am trying to show off a song, it is a pain to wait for it to load. The worst thing that can sometimes happen is that a song pauses in the middle because of the connection.
Now, I may be wrong about the following (perhaps Pandora has some bug I don’t know about), but I believe that the last issue comes down to my own personal internet connection and not the service itself. If your connection is reliable, stable, and above terrible then you should be fine using Pandora.
One that that really annoys me is actually only partially Pandora’s fault. I forget my passwords. While that seems one hundred precent MY fault, it is definitely not helped by Pandora’s account policy for the iPhone app. To use Pandora you MUST have an account and there is no getting around that. Their motive is most likely to improve the ‘random music generator’ for every single Pandora user, but it is quite annoying if you don’t have an account or forget your account details.
I think Pandora could improve their service tremendously if they opened the app to anyone, regardless of their status as an account holder or simply a guest. I mean it’s not like by not having an account you avoid the ads! As Pandora is right now though, there is simply no work around. If you do want to check out Pandora, you won’t regret creating an account. Plus, it only takes a few minutes of your time!
The last issue is the “hey are you there” check up. If you are listening to Pandora and do not pay much attention to it (meaning you have it in playing in the background) it will randomly stop playing music. To start the music where it stopped you simply have to click a button saying that you are still listening. While that’s fine for casual music playing, it’s awful if you want to let Pandora run at an event or something similar.
Overall Pandora receives a 3/5 simply because of it loading slower than other music services (at least for me), more ads than other services, and the requirement to have an account while using the iPhone app.