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Taking Radio to the Next Level

Radio as we used to know it is a thing of the past…  Car radios have become an enabler for your FM transmitter so you can listen to your iPod while you drive.  With the notable exception of XM, the days of old school over the airwaves radio service is over, while Pandora is paving the road to the future.

Pandora is an internet radio service that allows you to choose a genre or song that you enjoy, and then based on your music choice plays different albums and artists as if you were listening to a radio except you miss out on the disk jockey and talk show hosts.

Pandora makes its profits from commercials that play on a cycle of x # of minutes and then have a premium service you can purchase with various perks to set it apart from the free service.

Another unique aspect to Pandora is that they have reached out to mobile phones such as the iPhone and the Droid by creating Pandora apps that allow users to listen to their favorite stations via their phone.

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I'll Scratch your back if you Scratch mine.

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The first time I heard of Pandora, it sounded like a really cool idea for musicians, listeners, and Pandora.  I figured that since you can’t request a specific song to be played the artists on the site would have to pay a small fee because Pandora would drive more listeners to buy their CDs.  One day I left my dorm room and the music had stopped, and to my surprise, Pandora had asked if I was still listening.  The message said that they had to pay for every song they played, so it asked if I would turn off the music if I left the room.

At first I thought that this seemed a little backwards since Pandora would increase the sales of these artists.  But then this message reminded me of copyright laws, which I believe are very important.  As a web-based radio station, Pandora’s royalties are pretty high and may drive Pandora out of business, and thus record companies might lose sales. 

What makes the most sense to me is for the music labels to allow Pandora to play their music for free.  This would allow Pandora to make money off of advertising, and record companies to make more money by directing more people to buy their CD’s.

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Pandora: The Internet Radio (wait..this actually works?)

Pandora

In today’s world, music has become an essential part of nearly everyone’s daily life. People use it for entertainment, to keep them awake, to help them go to sleep, to relax, and even for motivation. Nearly everyone has an MP3 player, and a wide variety of their favorite songs on their computer, but what happens when you don’t have your computer with you, or you forgot your MP3 player at home? You could listen to an internet radio station…but who wants to do that? For most people it’s hard to narrow your music choices down to simply “alternative” or “pop” or “rock”. You could go to a site like youtube or www.playlist.com where you can individually choose the song (or music video) that you would like to listen to, but this becomes tiresome (especially if you don’t know what you want to listen to).

This is where Pandora comes in. Found at www.pandora.com, Pandora will ask to to register with an email address (which they never contact you at) and pick a band that you like. From there, their “music genome project” takes over and starts by playing you one song from that artist. You have the option to give the song either a thumbs up, or a thumbs down, and from there Pandora will pick your next songs that you are also able to rate. As time goes on, your “station” becomes more and more personalized based on your ratings, and you can even skip a limited number of songs or create multiple stations with different artists on each one! It is a great website, and I use it constantly (even on my own computer where I have my own music). Best of all, it’s 100% FREE! Check it out!

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