So last week I was at work and I wanted to listen to some music, but unfortunately I had left my adorable pink Shuffle on my bed when I switched tote bags that morning. Since I one of those kids who downloaded as many songs as I could on my dial-up connection when Napster was the hot new thing, my first thought was to download a bunch of songs. However, being that I am currently working on a copyright infringement awareness campaign, I decided that it would not be in my best interest to get caught illegally downloading music at work.
When I mentioned the dilemma of spending the day in a silent office, one of my coworkers suggested Pandora. Pandora is a free, online radio service that lets you listen to any of your favorite music. After you set up an account, you type in the name of a song or artist that you want to hear and it will create a station for you. You can create as many stations as you want, or just add new music to a single station.
In addition to the standard play and pause features, there are some really great benefits to using Pandora. First, it has every song or artist that I’ve searched for so far. It also constantly updates the selection so you get to hear new songs as soon as they are formally released. I made country station and searched for Carrie Underwood. One of the first songs that played was from her new CD that had come out a couple days earlier, which I thought was pretty cool. My favorite part of Pandora is the fact that it adds music to your stations that is similar to the artists that you have requested. It gives you the option to rate the song with a thumbs up or thumbs down and based on your opinions, it adds or deletes songs. This is a great way to find new music that you’ve never heard of.
As with any technology, there are a couple of downsides to using Pandora. Because of their copyright agreements, they can’t play multiple songs by one artist in a row. Also, you have the option to skip songs but you can’t go back and replay any songs, so if you want to use it as an iPod substitute, you will probably not be satisfied. Though it is a great application if you want to randomly listen to all of your favorite music and find some great new tunes along the way. Also, Pandora has been added as a Facebook application, so you can even listen to songs without ever leaving the site!
In light of all the recent legal drama surrounding file sharing and distributing music online, using Pandora is definitely a safe route to take. I’ve heard about ways to download the mp3s to your computer so that you can listen to them at your leisure or put them onto your iPod, but that a project for a rainy day.