I admit it. I’ve been sucking off the Pandora Internet music service teat for the past few years without giving them a dime. I’m so ashamed.
That’s me, the dirty rat, carelessly skipping off to another service when I had completely used up my free monthly allotment of 40 hours. I even got a nicely embroidered Pandora baseball cap from them on Twitter. Did that move me to flip them some bread? No. What a cheap bastard I’ve been.
Fear not Tim W! I have redeemed myself! I finally coughed up the $36 for your much-ballyhooed Pandora. And I’m glad I did!
#1 Better Music Quality. Now I know you young folk out there have had your ears destroyed by listening to MP3’s all your life. It seems like very few people I meet even know what music “fidelity” is. I’m terrified that we’ve all lost a bit of our inner audiphile because of the digital age. Free Pandora music is streaming to you at around 128Kbs. Pandora One bumps that up to 192Kbs. When you pump this noise through your headphones or a real stereo you DO (or should) notice a difference in the fidelity.
#2 No Ads. Yes. That’s right! You know those annoying ads that crop up in between every few songs? With Pandora One those are no more. It’s truly a brighter day. Although, I have to admit, some of the ads like the Mozy one where the guy puts his laptop in the microwave were funny…the first 2 times. No, ads won’t be missed.
#3 You get six skips per hour instead of 12 skips per day. What is this? When you hear a song you don’t like you have the option of skipping past it to another song. With the free service you could only skip 12 songs in a day. With the paid version you can skip six songs in an hour. This can get to be important when you’re looking for just the right song to fit the mood–or you’re tired of something you’re hearing.
#4 Five hours of listening without interruption. With free Pandora you were constantly asked to confirm that you were listening. Are you there? This was a very smart move on Pandora’s part considering it’s not FREE to stream music to you even though you’re not paying for it. With the paid Pandora you don’t have to give a sign of life for five hours. Now I don’t recommend you just light up your Pandora and leave the room either. Have a heart. Turn off the tunes when you’re not listening. Conservation is good for the net too.
#5 Nifty desktop application. Yes! This was actually more useful to me than I expected it would be. Now I don’t have to go to the Pandora website and wait for Flash to load. I can just open that handy dandy Adobe Air application Pandora installed on my Mac and I’m good to go. When a new song comes on, a Growl-like window appears in the upper right-hand side of my screen showing me what’s playing now. By clicking that window you bring up the app so you can either interact with the song or skip it. That’s a nice touch.
I’ve been a fan of Internet Radio since…well since it started. Pandora has been the backdrop for many a day…and night for me. I’m happy I’m no longer Minnie the Moocher. Besides, I could really use a new baseball cap..hint hint…Pandora.