Monday, September 22, 2008


I really enjoy Pandora, the internet streaming music service that works like a radio station keyed to a single or group of seed artists to shape a program of songs in the user's preferred style.

It's pretty damn good and works rather well. It even digs into beloved album tracks you'd think would never get noticed. And the streaming is smart, pre-loading songs as much as possible to prevent mid-stream hiccups.

While Pandora is in stereo on broadband, it does run in Mono on the iPhone. However, that may be necessary to fly below the 115kpbs Edge network limits. 128kps or 160kbps mp3's in stereo won't fit, so 64kbps or 80kbps mono mp3's are used...see 160 > 115 while 80 < 115 so mono streaming works well generally, depending on Edge signal quality.

I tried going for a 4 mile walk the other night with Pandora playing on my iPhone (using the dedicated Pandora app). Walking around with Pandora on the iPhone is a surreal and wholly modern experience.

Walking around with Pandora on the iPhone is a surreal and wholly modern experience.

I realized I could not watch any marketing messages they might deliver while the iPhone was in my pocket.

I think Pandora offers a paid service, though to support the free service I could stand a 20-30 second audio ad every 3 songs or so. I think Pandora is a great evolution from traditional radio, though its very nature creates enormous licensing costs.

While Radio can pay one ASCAP fee for broadcasting a song to millions, Pandora is probably stuck with a fee per stream per user. There should be some middle ground license to allow Pandora's brilliant service to be more viable.

I get into Pandora, and who knew how much 80's hair band music made into my memory when I was a teenager. I can kind of tolerate it now, amazingly.


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