Via Scoble (and Google's Blogsearch shows this meme is spreading around the blogosphere today). Pandora is an online service that streams music to you. You start by entering which artist you like and it creates your own customized "radio station". You can add other artists to the station, and as songs are played you further tailor your selection by giving the "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to songs played. They play a wide variety of music, most of which I've never heard before (I would say maybe 20% of the songs are from artists I've selected). It's a great way for music to get sold too (Pandora provides affiliate links to Amazon and iTunes). You can either use their free service (which will be augmented with ads at a later date) or subscribe (for a paltry three or four bucks a month).

Finally, this is a web service I would consider paying for - we'll see how the ads crappify the experience first though before I go down the subscription route. I have yet to experience any stream interruptions while at work (we'll see how my home broadband connection handles it). The interface is done in Flash. Very slick, very excellent!

A good axiom I follow as a service user is that "eventually everything gets crappy":

  • Network television is mostly crap nowadays overflowing with ads in unexpected places ("The Apprentice" is just an excuse to pimp big ticket items like cars, movies, by including them in the actual programming - each episode is one big ad), as a consequence, most quality shows have mostly migrated to cable stations (like HBO).
  • Specialty cable stations like MTV, VH1, Cartoon Network have migrated from their initial vision of selective programming to play crappy shows in an effort to generate "new content".
  • Email was crappified by spam. Same with blogs.
  • Google's business model made it acceptable to sprinkle ads everywhere in my web experience.
  • One could make the argument that the quality of Wikipedia's articles have gone down since it hit "mainstream" and people with strong agendas have become entrenched.
  • Many popular web sites get swallowed by major corporations. Read about here.
  • The Netscape browser - - well, I'll say no more.

Anyway, I'm not casting judgment here, I'm certainly guilty of at least the Google ads. The key is to find the newer experiences and ride their waves of greatness until the crappiness becomes too much to bear - then switch to something new. I think that's where we're at with services like iTunes and Pandora and technologies like RSS/Atom right now - they're currently in that phase of greatness...

§178 · November 11, 2005 · Entertainment, Life, QuickLinks, Technology, Web · Tags: · [Print]

Leave a Comment to “Pandora and Riding The Crap Wave”

  1. Rob says:

    The Apprentice is a good example. It seems that every episode I’ve seen (not a whole lot, but a few) are just projects on pushing new products. It’s not always big-ticket stuff either, there was one a week or so ago on some laundry detergent (notice how I avoided getting their brand name “Tide” in there, pretty slick, eh?).

    I think the whole reason we find advertising offensive is that it’s typically so obvious and poorly targetted. I’m litterally offended by the crap fliers I get in the mail all the time. Why should I have to pull pictures of animal guts out of my mail when I’m a vegetarian? This is bad targetting offending the audience.

    Amazon ads placed inline in somebody’s text online are perfectly clickable when they show me where to buy something I’ve just been reading about. Far from offensive, they can often be helpful. Isn’t that what advertising should be? Helpful?

    Anyhow, I know this has nothing to do with Pandora, but I can’t see it from where I am and you started this tangent.

  2. Jeff Schiller says:

    My tangent had to do with how everything eventually becomes sucky, not strictly limiting my disgust to advertising…but anyway that can be the root cause sometimes…

    Those mass mailings drive me nuts, we literally get probably a pound of fliers a week with no known way of getting off their lists. And we’re just one house out of millions…

    And while I agree that poorly targeted advertising is the biggest problem, I also find advertising that blatantly obstructs, obscurs or masquerades as CONTENT offensive. Like any person, I prefer not to be aware that I’m being “pushed” into something.

    Dragging it back on topic: Ironically, Pandora’s main purpose is ACTUALLY to advertise music to me, but I gain a lot of enjoyment out of said music with zero obstructions (sponsors, censored lyrics, station identifications, etc). And the music is targeted at my tastes (based on what I’ve told it that I like). So it’s definitely a win-win. I’m just afraid that all the recent attention will cripple its servers or attract bigger investors that will gobble it up and then water it down. I just want to enjoy it for awhile before that happens.